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VOL. 17 NO. 4 








First Word 



By Elizabeth Taylor i 

What Would 

Communications jfff JM 

9 *. * \ 
Medicine ja 
By Steve Nadis j 

You Say to an Alien? 

By Erin Murphy 
Omni asked everyone 

from top 
politicians to leading 

scientists, from 

Electronic Universe ■■■■fl^P* 4 ' - ■. __LiaMI 

celebrities to cartoonists 

Omni Treasure Hunt 

Preview Page 



By Karen Fitzgerald 



By Ginger Pinholster 



By Steve Nadis 



By Janeen Webb and 

Jack Dann 



By J. Blake Lambert 



By Evan I. Schwartz 

Thought evolution 



By Anita Bartholomew 



By Scot Morris 

If you found yourself facing an alien delegation, would you 

know what to say ? Would anyone? President Clinton, 
Arthur Miller, and George Carlin are just some of the people 

from whom Omni sought an answer. Cover art by 
Jim Zuckerman. (Additional art and photo credits, page 103) 

what they'd say. 

Their responses may 

surprise you. 


Searching for Dollars: 

Funding Science Today 

By Robert Fleming 

American researchers are 

feeling the 

pressure as Congress 

tightens the 

cash-flow spigot. 


Strange Wonders in a 

Stranger Land 

By Sharon McAuliffe 

Inside Antarctica, 

an alien land at the bottom 

of the earth 


Fiction: There 

Are No Dead 

By Terry Bisson 





By Dava Sobel 






The first lady of American film fights AIDS and apathy 

By Elizabeth Taylor 

"Nat until every 

man, woman, 

and child knows 

the facts about 

AIDS can we hope 

to decelerate 
the spread ol this 

insidious dis- 
ease. There Is no 

subject mare 
important to tulure 


In the ten years of the AIDS cri- 
sis that I have spent lobbying, 
fundraising, and persuading 
the population, I have experi- 
enced such joy and pain. Each 
time we have gained a small vic- 
tory — in science, in education, in 
public policy, or in caring for 
people with HIV/AIDS— we have 
been set back by the loss of an- 
other loved one. 

In the face of seemingly over- 
whelming despair, it would be 
easy to give up hope and to give 
up action; to say that it's all too 
hard to bear. But we are at war 
with AIDS! And each time we 
lose in one battle, some friend, 
old or new, steps forward to fight 
to try again to change the wortd. 
So we continue to fight this 
enemy that recognizes no social, 
racial, economic, religious, or na- 
tional boundaries; at war with an 
enemy whose target is not par- 
ticular groups of "high-risk" indi- 
viduals but the high-risk behavior 
of any individual. 

In order to win this war, we 
need tenacious courage and 
boldness in educating ourselves 
and our loved ones. In my travels 
around the world on behalf of the 
American Foundation for AIDS 
Research (AmFAR) and the Eliz- 
abeth Taylor AIDS Foundation 
(ETAF), I am constantly stressing 
the need for education. HIV/AIDS 
education, however cannot be 
just the business of agencies 
and individuals who are working 
the front lines trying to save lives. 
It is everyone's business to know 
how AIDS is spread and how we 
can protect ourselves. It is the 
responsibility of every individual 
to protect him- or herself and 
others from infection. 

I am hopeful today as I observe 
the developments in community 
support and activism against 
AIDS. The American community is 
slowly becoming more support- 
ive and understanding of people 

with HIV/AIDS. I am hopeful that 
people are beginning to realize 
that they cannot sit idiy by while 
AIDS continues its relentless 
course. Many people are getting 
involved because they feel a 
compelling responsibility to help. 
Tragically, however, more and 
more people are getting involved 
because more and more people 
are being touched in a very per- 
sonal way through the illness of 
their friends and loved ones. 

Even after 12 years of the 
AIDS epidemic, the greatest bar- 
rier in the fight against AIDS con- 
tinues to be the stigma associated 
with the disease. The stigma of 
the association of AIDS with ho- 
mosexuality and injection sub- 
stance abuse continues to make 
the battle against AIDS formida- 
ble. This is the same stigma that 
breeds contempt, instead of 
compassion, for those who are 
affected and infected by HIV, 

It is encouraging to see films 
such as Philadelphia and plays 
such as Angels in A'merica re- 

ceiving high acclaim. Though the 
AIDS-affected community has 
been beautifully expressing its 
hopes and joys, pains and sor- 
rows, for years, it is exciting to 
see that these mainstream media 
are willing to portray the realities 
of AIDS. Projects like these do 
much to educate the public not 
only about the realities of the dis- 
ease, but also about the realities 
of those who are fighting it. 

The. media have done both a 
lousy and a great job on AIDS. 
Since the beginning of this crisis, 
there have been stories that sen- 
sationalize the issue and play on 
people's fears. While some re- 
port inaccurate information 
which unfairly hypes potential 
treatments, others continue to 
promote old stereotypes — AIDS 
as a disease affecting only gay 
men or substanceabusers. 

The media have also pre- 
sented very sensitive and touch- 
ing portraits of the realities of 
living with HIV/AIDS. They have 
presented programs that have 
covered the topic in depth with 
accurate information. They have 
run public-service programs and 

Given the far-reaching capa- 
bilities of the news and entertain- 
ment media, they are an incredi- 
bly valuable tool for disseminat- 
ing HIV/AIDS information. I implore 
them to increase their participa- 
tion through more AIDS educa- 
tion campaigns. They can do 
more. They must do more. 

Complacency and AIDS are 
not compatible. We cannot stop 
our activism, our advocacy, our 
pleas for more resources. Most 
importantly, we must never stop 
caring and giving all the support 
and compassion we can to those 
with HIV/AIDS. With education 
and activism, we may some day 
render this disease a terrible 
memory. I pray that such a day 
may come very soonlCQ 




What matters most— birth, death, or the life that flows 

between the two? 

Just A Hunch 

I was disappointed thai Dr. Cappon [IQ2, 
September 1994] didn't mention the 
most important application of intuition 
through the ages, the real everyday use 
that determines the outcome of the 
human aptitude— child rearing. Intuition 
plays an extremely viable role in raising 
a child to his or her potential. He speaks 
of hard (yang) applications of intu- 
ition — making money, inventions, and 
scientific theory. But what about the 
soft (yin) uses— mothering, counseling, 
teaching? These don't make a lot of 
money or fame, but they do have far- 
reaching effects on the human condition. 
Polly LaGrave, M.Ed. 
Elberta, AL 

Science versus Religion 
I consider the ability to argue both 
sides of an issue one of the most desir- 
able and rare evidences of true intelli- 
gence. Your October 1994 issue 
reaffirmed Omni as being at the fore- 
front of intelligent journalism. First, the 
UFO Update may seem ridiculous, but 
the concepi isn't unfounded. Consider 
what Satan might undertake to explain 
the sudden disappearance of thou- 
■ sands of people as foretold in the Bible 
as the Rapture. Alien abduction would 
be a viable and [now] acceptable alter- 
native to a confirmation of Biblical 
prophecy. Second, I read Hancock's 
book [Continuum Lead] last year, and 
the first thing any Christian would no- 
tice is that Hancock isn't. The real rea- 
son no one tried to find the ark in this 
manner before is because most Chris- 
tians don't dare doubt the Bible. Third, 
it seems silly that one would stumble 
on the lack of a DNA explanation in the 
Bible [Science and Religion], Evolution 
doesn't adequately explain the origins 
of DNA either. It's still the old chicken 
and egg argument: You can't have life 
without DNA and vice versa. As we 
move toward the year 2000, with Bible 
prophecies unfolding daily, the melding 
of science and religion is a subject one 
cannot afford to ignore. 

Jeffrey M. Cook 
Lynnwood, WA 

I just read the October issue, and was 

somewhat alarmed. The chasm exist- 

ing between religion and science is 
healthy, normal, and should be contin- 
ued. It's obvious to me this theologian 
[Robert Russell] is attempting to use 
the good reputation of science to add 
credibility to religion [Science and Reli- 
gion], In the future I hope to see the 
overwhelming weight of scientific fact 
crush religion completely, pushing it 
back to the Stone Age where it be- 
longs. Mr. Russell would like to keep 
theology relevant to the times. Why not 
just admit it has never been relevant and 
be done with it? Religion has caused 
more harm in every era of human his- 
tory than any other single idea. 

William McNulty 
Seattle, WA 

Enjoy It While You Can 
"The Other Side of the Bloch" [October 
1994] was a refreshing admission of 
humanity. I'm tired of people being 
comfortable with death. I've heard all 
the pacifiers— the universe is a safe 
place, you'll go to heaven, you'll be- 
come one with the great spirit, you'll 
disappear into benign nothingness. My 
favorite is the jaded, 'Who cares, 
what's so great about life anyway?' The 
fact is, life is wonderful, and it scares 
the hell out of me that I have limited 
time to enjoy it, When I was younger I 
knew I could not die. As I aged I be- 
lieved science would break the mortal- 
ity barrier. Now I realize that even I am 
going to die. I don't know how that can 
be, but I'll tell you, I'm not happy about 
it. Death is downright terrifying, and I'm 
with Robert Bloch in saying so. 

Jane Smith 

Irvine, CA 

AOL: Dakhma 

Editor's note: Robert Bloch died Sep- 
tember 23, 1994. His work lives. 

Got something to say but no time to 
write? Call (900) 285-5483. Your com- 
ments will be recorded and may appear 
in an upcoming issue of Omni. The cost 
for the call is 95 cents per minute. You 
must be age 18 or older. Touch-tone 
phones only. Sponsored by Pure Enter- 
tainment, 505 South Beverly Drive, 
Suite 977, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. 



Traveling the body in microrobotic style' 

By Steve Nadis 

Researchers at MIT's Arti- 
ficial Intelligence Lab 
have plans to go where 
no man, woman, or "mobot" has 
ever gone before — into a dark, 
slimy, and winding tunnel known 
as the large intestine, or colon. 
The microrobot — named Cleo 
and little more than an inch in 
width, breadth, and height — was 
devised by 22-year-old MIT se- 
nior James McLurkin, who ad- 
mits to having "always liked 
small things." Cleo is about the 
smallest thing on two treads going 
these days and it's also among 
the smartest. It can find a path 
between obstacles, move toward 
or away from light, avoid hills, 
and grasp objects with a small 
claw. All these actions can be 
initiated by a person operating a 
joystick. Cleo can also function 
on its own, untethered, making 
its way through a plastic colon 
maze, for instance, by bumping 
into a wall, backing up, and shift- 
ing its direction ever so slightly. 

Cleo is the fourth so-called 
"ant" created by McLurkin — and 
the product of an effort certainly 
disproportionate to its modest 
size, To gather all its miniature 
parts, McLurkin pored through 
"catalog after catalog, making a 
million phone calls, always ask- 
ing the same question: 'Do you 
have anything smaller?'" 

The project is funded by the 
Advanced Research Projects 
Agency (ARPA) in the Department 
of Defense which is looking to re- 
mote surgery as a long-term goal. 
According to this vision, someday 
remote manipulators (robot arms) 
might perform surgery on U.S. 
soldiers around the world, guided 
by physicians back home. For 
the nearer term, the agency re- 
gards colon examinations and 
surgery as the most immediate 
applications. "A diagnostic task 
such as looking for cancer is the 
main motivation," explains ARPA 

surgeon Richard Satava. 

The technology allows the mi- 
crorobot to work in conjunction 
with light and a camera; if some- 
thing unusual is spotted, the 
controlling physician might take 
a sample (a biopsy), or possibly 
snip off little growths or polyps 
and stop intestinal bleeding with 
lasers or electricity. "We can do 
all these things today in a proce- 
dure called colonoscopy, but that 
involves pushing a long tube into 
a person which is extremely un- 
comfortable," Satava says, "A 
small instrument like a microro- 
bot has the potential to be much 
less painful and much less dan- 
gerous." He predicts that robotic 
colon surgery could be possible 
within five to ten years. 

Robotic surgery is not alto- 
gether new. "Robodoc," for in- 
stance, Is used during hip re- 
placement surgery to bore a pre- 
cision hole in the hip bone for an 
artificial replacement part. Ro- 
bots have also helped neurosur- 
geons determine the exact 
position of brain tumors. But Cleo 
is among the first to be designed 
to go inside the human body. Be- 
fore that happens, though, sev- 
eral problems Uave to be solved. 

Locomotion is the most press- 
ing challenge. The large intestine 
is wet, slippery, and elastic, with 
sharp curves and loops — factors 
which make it "a difficult environ- 
ment to move around in. It's like 
driving on a Jell-0 mold," ex- 
plains Art Shectman, an MIT se- 
nior who is working on the 
problem. Size, too, is a factor. 
Cleo's motors — which at 7 mm in 
diameter and 17 mm in length 
are among the smallest that can 
be bought today — were taken 
from vibrating beeper devices. 
MIT graduate student Anita Flynn 
and undergraduate Dean Franck 
are trying to build much smaller 
motors made out of piezoelectric 
materials which expand or con- 

tract in the presence of an elec- 
tric field. If their efforts prove 
successful, McLurkin believes it 
will soon be possible to build a 
one-cubic centimeter robot'that 
is small enough to enter the 
small intestine and other realms 
of the body. 

Cubic millimeter-sized "gnat" 
robots, the ultimate goal, could 
wander about anywhere in the 
digestive tract, plus the ears, 
bronchial tubes, and blood- 
stream. Robots might be swal- 
lowed in pill form, inserted in the 
bronchial tubes with a tongue 
depressor, injected into blood 
vessels, or simply march into the 

ears, Though some may be 

frightened by the notion of au- 
tonomous robots moving through 
the body on their own, Satava 
counters that concern: "It's not 
any more worrisome than major 
surgery, where you're put com- 
pletely to sleep and operated on 
when you're completely open," 

It may be quite a few years 
before anything as futuristic as 
this high-tech version of the 1966 
classic, Fantastic Voyage, is in 
common use, but McLurkin is 
optimistic about the future. "This 
is not pie-in-the-sky," he insists. 
"Sooner or later, one way or an-' 
other, robotic surgery is gonna 
happen." Now that really will be 
a fantastic voyage.DO 



Computer entertainment enjoys another renaissance 

By Gregg Keizer 

The phenomenal 

success of 

CD-ROM lilies like 

flfytfmay Insane a 
new crop ol 
nonviolent com- 
puter games. 

Ka-bing, ka-bang, ka- 
boom. In case you're 
wondering what all that 
noise is about, just listen care- 
fully: It's electronic entertainment 
flexing at the joints, trying to ac- 
commodate changes in digital 
temperature. Some things are 
cooling off quicker than a Mon- 
tana winter, while others are 
heating up faster than a middle- 
aged gamer's hot flashes. 

Bring out your dead! That 
386SX PC tucked into a corner of 
your house just won't cut it any- 
more. Nothing pushes the hard- 
ware envelope harder than 
entertainment— you can only 
type so fast in a word processor, 
but animation had better fly if .it's 
going to be persuasive— a fact 
of computer life that translates 
into an insatiable appetite for fast 
processors and lots of memory. 
In fad, with Intel dropping prices 
of its top-flight Pentium micro- 
processor and computer makers 
doing the same for their Pentium- 
based PCs, these fast machines 
are fast becoming the home 
user's dream machine. If you're 
upgrading the PC this year, it 
makes sense to skip past a 486 
and head straight to a Pentium. 
Such advice may be contrary to 
my midyear prediction, but if 
Windows 4.0 is as game-friendly 
as some early tests seem to indi- 
cate, you'll want the extra power 

sooner rather than later. 

Can I see your I.D., kid? 

Game violence made headlines 
during 1994 when Congress 
pushed publishers to put ratings 
on boxes or face senatorial 
music, Everyone jumped to fall 
into line, but the result— at least 
two different ratings systems by 
the end of the year, each sup- 
ported by a different industry as- 
sociation — is unnecessarily 
muddy. Still, ratings will quiet the 
critics and provide conscientious 
parents with at least some guid- 
ance on what's appropriate for 
their kids. Ratings won't quell the 
violence within games, though; 
star witnesses are Acclaim's 
Mortal Kombat II, which is even 
bloodier than last year's model 
and Doom, the gutshooting festi- 
val on the PC (and on other plat- 
forms, including the new kid- 
ready Genesis 32X). 

Play Myst for me. The phe- 
nomenal success of Myst, 
Broderbund's adventure/puzzle 
game, proves there's a major 
market for CD-ROM titles aimed 
at adults who want to think, not 
twitch their thumbs on a joystick. 
Anything that's been on the best- 
seller lists this long is sure to 
spawn a slew of look-and-act- 
alikes, good news for anyone 
who enjoys nonviolent computer 
games, And since Myst is less a 
"guy thing" than most games, it 
may even spur publishers into 
making more titles tantalizing to 
both men and women. 

Sixteen bits on a dead man's 
chest. Although existing 16-bit 
videogame machines are far 
from dead — I stand by my call 
that they'll keep you entertained 
through the end of 1995— Sega's 
trying to shove us up to 32-bit. Its 
Genesis 32X add-on should 
serve as a bridge between past 
and future, since it's affordable 
($149), beefs up the Genesis' 
color count (to over 32,000), and 

even sharpens the video on 
SegaCD titles. A small set of 
software, including potential hits 
such as Virtua Racing Deluxe 
and the already-mentioned 
Doom, is its biggest bottleneck. 

Nostalgia 1995. If they can re- 
cycle Woodstock, they can recy- 
cle classic videogames. As the 
first generation of videogamers 
starts to worry about turning 30 
(or even 40), we'll see a crowd of 
face-lifted games of yesteryear 
appear. Activision's Return to 
Zork and Microsoft's Arcade 
jump-started the blast-from-the- 
past genre. Next up are Ninten- 
do's Donkey Kong Country and 
Activision's Pitfall: The Mayan 
Adventure. This is just the begin- 
ning of the videogame version of 
Classic. Rock radio. 

Missing in action. Interactive 
TV was hot news in 1994, but 
don't expect to see it in the 
headlines this year. And don't ex- 
pect to be playing with the TV 
anytime soon. Test sites of new 
cable offerings, including the 
Sega Channel (videogames 
downloaded to your Genesis), 
got off to a slower-than-expected 
start in 1994 and don't seem to 
be getting anywhere fast. 

Get 'em when they're young. 
Make multimedia PCs and Macs 
affordable to the average family, 
and people will swamp super- 
stores and warehouse clubs, 
eager to buy a machine for the 
home. That trend, which cranked 
up in late 1993, continues. The 
result is a glut of good kids' soft- 
ware on CD, from Broderbund's 
Math Workshop (one of the best 
math titles I've seen in years) to 
Microsoft's Creative Writer, a writ- 
ing tool that's also moved to CD- 
ROM. Even videogames are 
going after tots and tykes: Sega 
has launched Kid Club, which 
features several Genesis games 
aimed right at pre-schoolers and 
early elementary-aged kids.DQ 



Dam construction in Turkey threatens invaluable archaeological sites 

By Karen Fitzgerald 

The fifth-largest rock- 
and-earth dam in the 
world, the Ataturk is the 
third of 21 dams the Turkish gov- 
ernment intends to build on the 
Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Sup- 
plying irrigation water and hydro- 
eleciricity, the dam promises to 
transform the vast dust bowl of 
southeast Turkey into a bread- 
basket that could feed all of the 
Middle East and Europe, too, ac- 
cording to Vassar College geolo- 
gist Yildirim Dilek, who has 

Dam construction 

imperils sites 

such as Kazane 

Hoyuk, which 

boasts pottery 

(right) dating hack 

to 5000 B.c. 

and Harran, home 

of ancient 

Harran University 


' ™ '■ 1 :":■--. i ~' r ~". 
y ■ ■ r 

studied the dam's impact. 

But to make way for the fu- 
ture, pieces of the past must be 
sacrificed. The dam project has 
already flooded hundreds of ar- 
chaeologically significant sites 
along the Euphrates and will af- 
fect hundreds more before com- 
pletion; The clock is ticking for 
the archaeologists scrambling to 
excavate Ihese potentially invalu- 
able sites before the water rises. 
Much of the region is virgin terri- 
tory to archaeologists. 

Samsat, near the Euphrates, 
was one of the first victims of the 
dam project. A bustling city of 
50,000 during the Roman Em- 
pire, Samsat goes as far back as 
the Neolithic Period. A rich site 
like this would normally take 
decades to excavate, but ar- 
chaeologist Nimet Ozguc of the 
Turkish Historical Society and her 
team had only 11 years to work 
before the water came rushing in 
in the late 1980s. 

Archaeologists from Ankara 
University, working under the di- 
rection of Olus Arik, have begun 
another emergency excavation at 
a town called Hasankeyf, due to 
be submerged upon the comple- 
tion of the Tigris's llisu Dam in 
about six years, Many archaeolo- 
gists consider Hasankeyf the most 
wrenching loss because of its 
striking buildings. "Hasankeyf is 
filled with masterpieces of Is- 
lamic architecture," says archae- 
ologist Guillermo Algaze of the 
University of California, San Diego, 

The dam region, holds the 
only clues to the intersection of 
the Mesopotamian cultures to 
the south and the Anatolian cul- 
tures of ancient Turkey to the 
north, Algaze explains. Only four 
known sites record the incursion 
of the Sumerian culture of Meso- 
potamia into Anatolia, he says. 
The Carchemish Dam, planned 
for the Euphrates River, will put 
three of them under water. 

Yet another threatened site, 
Kazane Hoyuk, may contain arti- 
facts that overturn conventional 
notions of how and where civi- 
lization began. A tablet found there 
recently is written in cuneiform, 
the first system of writing, de- 
vised by the Sumerians. Some 
archaeologists consider it an- 
other example of Sumerian cul- 
ture spreading into Turkey, but 
University of Virginia archaeolo- 
gist Patricia Wattenmaker, a di- 
rector of the excavation, says the 

artifacts found so far reflect a 
culture distinct from the Sumeri- 
ans. The great size of the site — 
100 hectares — suggests it was a 
city of a population unheard of 
before the development of agri- 
culture and civilization. Watten- 
maker believes the prehistoric 
city was an independent seed of 
civilization, perhaps one of many 
independent city-states through- 
out the Middle East that nurtured 
cultural advances at about the 
same point in history. 

Her team has excavated 
Kazane Hoyuk for only two sum- 
mers, and only five to seven more 
years remain before irrigation 
construction concludes there. 
Then the land will be devoted to 
agriculture year round, making 
archaeological excavation too 
expensive to continue. Ironically, 
archaeologists would probably 
never have discovered the 
Kazane Hoyuk site if not for the 
large irrigation channel that now 
cuts through the modern town. 
During its construction, bulldoz- 
ers kicked up prehistoric pottery 
that tipped off Wattenmaker to 
the importance of the site. 

Although she knows her days 
at Kazane Hoyuk are numbered, 
Wattenmaker has only praise for 
the Turkish government's efforts 
to excavate the sites before flood- 
ing. She and other archaeologists 
point out that other countries, in- 
cluding the United States, do 
much less when technology en- 
croaches upon archaeological 
material, a not-uncommon occur- 
rence. "It happens literally every 
day, everywhere in the world," Al- 
gaze says. 

Regardless, the massive scale 
of the dam projects in a country 
so rich in antiquities makes 
Turkey's case particularly poign- 
ant. Turkey boasts more than 
40,000 recorded archaeological 
sites, and half the country hasn't 
even been explored.DQ 



Traveling around the world in the Surface Orbiter 

By Ginger Pinhoister 

It all started with a trip to Aus- 
tralia, where show-car crafts- 
man Rick Dobbertin got 
decked by a kangaroo. Dob- 
bertin, 41, and his wife, Karen, 
were touring Down Under to pro- 
mote his 1985 Pontiac J2000, 
Hot Rod magazine's "Hot Rod of 
the Year" for 1986. 

That's when Dobbertin— 
bored with muscle cars: — de- 
cided to build an amphibious 
vehicle suitable for circling the 
globe. "Someone said, 'Hey 
mate, how'd you get [the J2000] 
here, drive it?' Then it dawned on 
him to create a machine you ac- 
tually could drive across conti- 
nents," explains Loren Benedict, 
project manager for the trek. 

The Dobbertins weren't sure 
at first how to bankroll their 
dream, but Lady Luck intervened 

The Dobbertin 
Surface Orbiter 
a $175,000 

when Karen captured Rick's im- 
promptu boxing match with a 
kangaroo on videotape. By par- 
laying the tape to television's To- 
tally Hidden Videos, they won 
$10,000 worth of seed money for 
their amphibious car. 

At press time, they were 
chugging slowly through the 
Caribbean in their Dobbertin 
Surface Orbiter, an amphibious 
converted 1959 Heil milk tanker 
known on the water as Persever- 
ance. After island-hopping to 
South America and past the 
equator, they'll steer north for a 
pit-stop in California, using a 
large compass and global posi- 
tioning system to navigate. From 
there, it's on to the Aleutian Is- 
lands, Japan, the Philippines, 
Australia, India, Africa, and Eu- 
rope. They hope to complete the 
trip by September 1996. 

The Dobbertins began their 
incredible journey on December 
19, 1993, after signing new wills 
and chipping through ice for a 
test ride around Lake Cazenovia. 
Capable of 70 miles per hour on 
the highway and "sailboat 
speeds" (6 knots) in the water, 
the Orbiter's gray cockpit was 
comfortable enough as Rick and 
Karen zigzagged south toward 
Florida, traveling about 12 miles 
on each gallon of diesel fuel, 

But the going got tough at 
2:00 a.m. on March 5, 1994 
when they launched from Key 
Largo, Florida, and plunged into 
the Gulf Stream for a stomach- 
churning, 17-hour crossing to the 
Bahamas. "I was seasick," re- 
calls Karen, a 35-year-old interior 
decorator. "Rick had to man the 
helm the whole time." Though 
they had encountered five-foot 
waves during practice runs on 
Lake Ontario, Rick was surprised 
by swells topping 10 feet in the 
ocean, "In one second, we would 
be turned one way, and the next 
second, we would be turned the 

other way, which was kind of ag- 
gravating," he says mildly. "The 
compass would show 35 de- 
grees, then it would show 310." 

Since its hull was originally 
designed to haul 32,000 pounds 
of milk, however, the Orbiter re- 
mained watertight, "it's a double- 
walled stainless steel tank, 
insulated, and obviously if it held 
milk in, it could hold water out," 
Benedict notes. 

The 32.5-foot stainless steel 
monstrosity created quite a stir in 
the Bahamas, where local police 
insisted on "escorting" the cou- 
ple, and witnesses kept asking: 
"Are you crazy?" In Nassau, Rick 
says, "a guy said he wanted to 
watch us launch because we 
would sink." 

Powered by a 6.5-liter GM 
turbo-diesel engine with a Penin- 
sular marine conversion, the Or- 
biter also includes a Hydra-Matic 
4L80E automatic transmission 
and Borg-Warner transfer case. 
It relies on standard amphibious 
technology: When moving from 
land to water, the Dobbertins 
simply slip a collar from one 
drive shaft to another, switching 
from four-wheel drive to propeller 
mode. To climb back onto land, 
they engage two front tires. "It's a 
'push-me, pull-me' operation," 
Benedict explains. 

Design modifications may 
help the Dobbertins avoid a se- 
quel to their spin-cycle experi- 
ence in the Gulf Stream, Rick 
tried attaching the severed bow 
of a shipwrecked power boat to 
the Orbiter. "We looked like the 
Beverly Hillbillies," he says, 
adding that steel fairings might 
help, too. Because it rides low in 
the water, however, Rick claims 
the vehicle isn't likely to sink. "I 
don't think it's a life-or-death ve- 
hicle," he says. "If the engine 
blew up and we were set adrift, it 
would just bob around like a 
cork — a vomit-filled cork." Dd 



A band of artists unites to reinvent urban planning 

By Steve Nadis 

intervention, a 
feather labyrinth 
by Marty Cain, 
is one ol many 
Installations de- 
signed lo 
direct the pub- 
lic's attention 
to neglected land. 

It was a museum like no other: 
two dozen art installations 
scattered amidst an industrial 
wasteland, creating some un- 
likely juxtapositions — wind-driven 
mobiles sharing space with 
burnt-out vehicles; headless, flat- 
tened human figures pressed 
against a chainlink fence; and 
stone benches situated near dis- 
carded chunks of concrete. The 
site at North Point, an obscure 
parcel of land straddling the 
Boston-Cambridge, Massachu- 
setts, line, is cut off from general 
use by highways, a rail bridge, 
and the Charles River. The ex- 
hibit opened on April 30, 1994, 
stuck around for a month, and 
then quietly vanished — another 
hit-and-run job by the Reclama- 
tion Artists (RA), 

The group of more than 100 
Boston-area artists and land- 
scape architects formed in 1989 
with the goal of "reclaiming" land 
apparently bypassed by devel- 
opment plans and producing 
outdoor exhibitions thai present 
alternative visions for urban 
planning. The April show was the 
sixth of seven exhibitions so far, 
with more planned- for 1995 and 
beyond. By design, all RA shows 
are uncurated. "People are free 
to do exactly what they want to 

do, which ensures diverse mes- 
sages and points of view," ex- 
plains MIT sculptor Joan 
Brigham, the group's current co- 
ordinator. It also gives members, 
from world-renowned artists to 
students, equal opportunities to 
exhibit their work. "For too long, 
curators have completely con- 
trolled what the public can see. 
This is about artists taking back 
their rights." 

It's also about getting the 
public involved in decisions 
about how land in their region is 
used. The first step is to set-up 
exhibitions that lure people to ne- 
glected urban enclaves — partic- 
ularly land threatened by the 
Central Artery Tunnel project, the 
largest highway building project 
in the country. "We use art as a 
catalyst to get people to look at 
things," says Cambridge artist 
Laura Baring-Gould, At North 
Point, she installed three sculp- 
tural pieces — copper benches, 
which she calls "bleacher seats 
on the heart of the city. You can 
sit here and see all the things it 
takes to make a city function- 
trucks moving in and out, com- 
muter trains on the bridge, and 
boat traffic on the river." 

RA is drawing attention to 
North Point, the last half-mile of 

undeveloped riverfront property 
in Boston, in the face of current 
plans to turn it into a generic 
hotel and condo park. "We 
should pay attention to what 
makes places unique so that 
everything doesn't look the 
same. The repetition of the same 
old formulas is killing America," 
Brigham notes, suggesting 
there's got to be another way for 
public spaces to be. developed. 
One problem, she adds, is that 
the design of our cities goes on 
with little or no public input — a 
fact that RA desperately hopes 
to change. 

This effort parallels the efforts 
of other artists "trying to promote 
the idea of democracy as a par- 
ticipatory process," explains 
New York art critic Eleanor Heart- 
ney, co-curator of a show on 
"Public Interventions" which was 
held at the Institute of Contem- 
porary Art (ICA) in Boston from 
April 27 to July 17, 1994. The ex- 
hibit focused on public artwork 
that "agitates in some way for so- 
cial change," featuring the works 
of RA, other art collectives, and 
individual artists. "Art is starting 
to move, out of the galleries," 
H.eartney says. "And through this 
work, artists are not just attempt.- 


Unheralded aeroplane pioneer 

By Janeen Webb and Jack Dann 


Margrave's flying 


based on the box 

kite, provided 

Inspiration for 

many of 

aviation's pioneer 


On November 12, 1894, 
Lawrence Hargrave, 
the Australian inventor 
of the box kite, linked four of his 
kites together, added a sling 
seat, and flew 16 feet. By dem- 
onstrating to a skeptical public 
that it was possible to build a 
safe and stable flying machine, 
Hargrave opened the door to 
other inventors- and pioneers. 
The Hargrave-designed box kite, 
with its improved lift-to-drag 
ratio, was to provide the theoreti- 
cal wing model that allowed the 
development of the first genera- 
tion of European airplanes. 

In the 1890s a small number 
of inventive technologists were 
working to translate infant avia- 
tion theory into airplanes, Lead- 
ing the race was Hargrave, a 
quintessential nineteenth-cen- 
tury gentleman scientist of inde- 
pendent means. A gifted ex- 
plorer, astronomer, amateur histo- 
rian, and practical inventor, 
Hargrave devoted most of his life 
to constructing a machine that 
would fly, He believed passion- 
ately in open communication 
within the scientific community 
and would not patent his inven- 

tions. Instead, he scrupu- 
lously published the results of 
nis exper ments. 

The first successful aircraft in- 
corporated three crucial aero- 
nautical concepts developed by 
Hargrave: the cellular box-kite 
wing, the curved wing surface, 
and the thick leading wing edge 
(aerofoil), The Wright brothers 
had access to Hargrave's work 
through the aviation annuals 
published by James Means, and 
Octave Chanute's Progress in 
Flying Machines. Chanute, who 
corresponded with the Wright 
brothers, devoted a section of 
his book to Hargrave's experi- 
ments. Bui the Wright brothers, 
constrained by politics and 
patent problems of their time,' 
admitted no influences. 

The direct line of Hargrave's 
influence on the evolution of fly- 
ing is more discernible in Eu- 
rope. The French (who thought 
that France was the cradle of 
aviation) freely acknowledged 
Hargrave's influence:'Alberto 
Santos-Dumont was the first Eu- 
ropean to fly a heavier-than-air 
machine constructed of Har- 
grave box kites in 1906. When 

Gabriel Voisin built the first 
commercially available aircraft, 
based on the stable lifting sur- 
faces of Hargrave's box kites, he 
called them "Hargraves." 

In 1889 Hargrave revolution- 
ized engine technology by in- 
venting the radial rotary engine, 
which reappeared (unacknowl- 
edged) in modified form in 1908 
as the French Gnome engine. Al- 
though as early as 1892 Har- 
grave had voiced his opposition 
to the idea of the "connection of 
the flying machine with dynamite 
missiles," the rotating radial en- 
gine was extensively used in mil- 
itary aircraft until it was super- 
seded by new engine technolo- 
gies many years later. 

Hargrave's concern for the 
peaceful promulgation of knowl- 
edge was evidenced in his con- 
cern for the safe placement of 
his working models in an envi- 
ronment open to the public. The 
only museum thai would meet his 
terms was the Deutsches Tech- 
nological Museum in Munich. It is 
ironic that most of Hargrave's 
176 working models were de- 
stroyed in the Allied aerial bom- 
bardment of Germany during 
World War II. The 25 surviving 
models were restored in the 
1960s to Sydney, Australia's Pow- 
erhouse Museum, which is stag- 
ing an exhibition to mark the cen- 
tennial of Hargrave's first flight. 

Octave Chanute wrote in 
1894 that "If there be one man 
more than another who deserves 
to succeed in flying, that man is 
Mister Lawrence Hargrave of 
Sydney." But Hargrave never did 
solve the power-to-weight ratio 
problem. His 1902 design was 
put to the test in 1992 when stu- 
dents at the University of Sydney 
rebuilt his aircraft from the origi- 
nal blueprint, replacing Har- 
grave's power plant with a 
modern one. 

It fiew.DQ 



Museums weave a web of online exhibits 

By J. Blake Lambert 

Having seen enough of 
the art on display at the 
Louvre for the moment, 
you pop over to the London Trans- 
port Museum for a look at some 
historical hardware. Then it's off 
to Berkeley to check out the Uni- 
versity of California's paleontol- 
ogy exhibit. No, you haven't 
leased a Concorde for the day — 
you're touring the museums of 
the world via the Internet's World 
Wide Web, sitting comfortably in 
front of your home computer. 

Museum discussions, art col- 
lections, virtual exhibits, and 
more await the online visitor. In- 
stead of walking through exhibit- 
filled hallways, you view works on 
a display that looks much like a 
color newspaper page, Just point 
and click on any topic of interest 
to retrieve text, pictures, or sounds. 

You can climb on the World 
Wide Web from a home page — a 
listing of Internet locations that fit 
a particular interest. There's no 
better place to start museum 
browsing than the Virtual Library 
Museums page, created by 
Jonathan Bowen. To start brows- 
ing, connect to 
eums.html using Mosaic or Lynx. 

A good first stop is the EXPO, 
which takes Internet visitors 
through four exhibits based on 
Library of Congress material: 
Rome Reborn (20D images from 
the Vatican Library); the Soviet 
Archive Exhibit (previously secret 
documents); 1492, An Ongoing 
Voyage (focusing on the years 
1492 to 1600); and Scrolls from 
the Dead Sea. 

Next, you might jump over to 
Fiat Lux, an online exhibit of 
Ansel Adams photographs com- 
missioned by the University of 
California. Some of the images of 
UC campuses and research fa- 
cilities are spectacular. 

LeWebLouvre is an awesome 
site which won a Best of the Web 

award in 1994. In addition to fa- 
mous paintings (there's an espe- 
cially good selection of Impres- 
sionist art), there's also French 
medieval art, as well as an excel- 
lent text and image tour of Paris. 

The University of California at 
Berkeley Museum of Paleontol- 
ogy Public Exhibit is a virtual mu- 
seum arranged by animal 
groups. (The Mammal Hall splits 
off into placental, marsupial, and 
monotreme mammal rooms, for 
exampfe.) While traveling from 
room to room, a virtual guide ex- 
plains what's being displayed. 

The San Francisco Explorato- 
rium presents information and 
schedules about the actual phys- 
ical museum, along with a series 
of images related to the museum 
and its exhibits. These include 
some interesting artworks by 

There's far too much accessi- 
ble from the Museums home 
page to completely list here, but 
other exhibits include the Smith- 
sonian, Bodleian Library manu- 
scripts at Oxford, the Museum of 
New Zealand, the Institute of 
Physics in Naples, the London 
Transport Museum, the River and 

Rowing Museum, the Singapore 
Art and History Museum, 
Jerusalem Mosaic, and London's 
Natural History Museum. 

Online museums reach a 
global audience. As Robert Gu- 
ralnick, museum Internet special- 
ist at the University of California 
Museum of Paleontology, ex- 
plains, "In August we have had 
visitors from 41 different coun- 
tries — including the former Soviet 
Union— view our World Wide 
Web server." The museum sends 
more than 6,000 files to online 
visitors each day. 

Kevin J. Comerford, visual re- 
source librarian and manager of 
information technology at the 
Dallas Museum of Art, stresses 
the- benefits of being able to 
reach "literally millions of people 
worldwide, at an amazingly low 
cost." Even visitors to the actual 
museum benefit, since they are 
able to "take home part of the 
museum (in the form of digital 
images)," Comerford explains, 
and to "keep in touch with mu- 
seum events and exhibitions." 

Even if you don't have Internet 
access, you'll find that many on- 
line services have their own ex- 
cellent museum resources. 
America Online hosts the Smith- 
sonian Institution, with great pho- 
tos of exhibits, as well as the 
National Museum of American 
Art, which has over 260 images 
of American paintings and folk 
art. America Online's Library of 
Congress section contains 
mostly text, but offers photos in 
the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. 

Museums around the world 
are opening the doors wide for 
virtual visitors. Guy Hermann, in- 
formation systems manager for 
Mystic Seaport Museum, says 
that, as Internet access be- 
comes easier, "the 'great' muse- 
ums are going to be the ones 
which provide the best access to 
the most information" online.00 


accessible on Die 

internet turn 

your computer's 

screen Into 

a virtual gallery of 

some ot 

the world's great 



Growing up in a context-free reality 

By Evan I. Schwartz 

What will be 

the effect on our 


and perceptual 


as ttiey conlranl 

an em- 

Increasing and 


electronic oul- 

J^% college basketball coach 
m^^L recalls the players he 
m % led a generation ago 
reading books on the bus to pass 
the time. Today, they don their 
Walkman headphones and break 
out their Nintendo Gameboys. 
For years, the coach diagrammed 
plays on a blackboard, repre- 
senting opposing players with Xs 
and Os. More recently, however, 
he began noticing the athletes 
do not understand the plays un- 
less he shows them videos of the 
teams in action, "The kids have 
changed over the years," he 
says. "They seem to have lost 
their abstract thinking skills." 

Such stories are rather typical 
these days. And they are send- 
ing childhood psychologists and 
neuroscientists down a new path 
of Inquiry: Are new technologies 
altering the structure and abili- 
ties of the human brain? 

Biopsychologist Sherry Ding- 
man, assistant professor of psy- 
chology at Marist College, 
suggests that children today are 
developing awesome capabili- 
ties in their right cerebral hemi- 
spheres "at the expense of 
left-hemisphere skills.'' The left 
cerebral cortex, she says, is 
specialized to process language 
and abstract functions such as 
translating a narrative from a 
book into a visual image in the 
mind. The right cerebral cortex 
is specialized to process visual 
imagery, such as video. The 
faster and more intense the vis- 
ual information, the more work 
and practice the right brain gets. 

The result, Dingman says, is a 
generation ot "children who may 
be deficit in left-hemisphere 
skills," and who can become ad- 
dicted to the fast-action elec- 
tronic visual feast. By contrast, 
the "camera angle" in a class- 
room or book never changes. This 
helps explain, she thinks, why 
children seem to pay more at- 

tention to videogames and elec- 
tronic media than they do when 
they read or listen to a lecture. 

Changing environments means 
changing neural wiring, The 
human has perhaps the most 
malleable brain of all creatures; 
young brains are the most plas- 
tic of all, developing neural con- 
nections up to age 14. Today's 
youth seem better able to process 
many different contexts at once, 
says neuroscientist Karl Pribram, 
director of the Center for Brain 
Research and Information Sci- 
ences at Radford University in 
Virginia. Minds nurtured on elec- 
tronics become adept at context 
switching, going back and forth 
between two or more different 
scenes or entire programs. 

People can handle massive 
amounts of information, Pribram 
explains, provided it's in a con- 
text — a narrative story or docu- 
mentary news format, for instance. 
Context overload comes when 
you don't have time to make the 
information a part of yourself. 
"When you're multitasking on TV 
or a computer, you're processing 
a tremendous amount of infor- 

mation," he notes. "When you're 
able to context-switch effectively, 
it allows you to be more tolerant 
of other viewpoints." 

"Some people would say the 
new technology puts us another 
notch away from rhoughtfulness," 
Pribram adds. "Will we use our 
brains less thoughtfully? With 
massive computer storage, we 
are less dependent on memory, 
everything is momentary. We'll 
have to find new ways to alert 
people to the past. Hypertext is 
one technique — just click on 
something, and it will trigger a 
reference from the past. We'll 
only have to remember the trig- 
gers. We'll have to develop bet- 
ter triggers to the past." 

Does this mean the brain is 
changing in an evolutionary 
sense? Not that obviously. The 
genetic blueprint takes thou- 
sands of years to vary signifi- 
cantly. But for all practical pur- 
poses, "our culture has changed 
the way the brain develops," Pri- 
bram concludes. Says Dingman: 
"We have invented technology 
that is changing us, and we have 
to pay more attention to it."DQ 



The case against Hal and the future of-copyright 

By Anita Bartholomew 

It was a landmark event in the 
evolution of computer intelli- 
gence when Just This Once 
was published by Carol Publish- 
ing in 1993. The first novel au- 
thored by a computer — Hal, a 
Macintosh IICX to be precise — 
the book may end up as a land- 
mark in legal circles as well. 

Scott French, who gets "as 
told to" credit on the book's 
cover, decided it might be possi- 
ble to program an artificial intelli- 
gence system to "learn" style. 
His goal: to produce the novel 
Jacqueline Susann would have 
written next, had she lived. 
French fed Hal two earlier nov- 
els, with instructions on 
the formula that made 
Susann the top-selling 
novelist of all time, Just 
This Once is not a copy 
of Susann's books; it's an 
original, but based on 
her style and formula. 

French's dream of 
playing midwife (mid- 
husband?) to a com- 
puter-generated novel 
came true when he dis- 
covered an expert sys- 
tem shell (the framework 
for an artificial intelli- 
gence program) that did 
everything the $100,000 
shells did for $94,000 less. French 
then spent the next eight years — 
and another $50,000— trying to 
produce the great American 
computer-generated pulp novel. 
When he wasn't coaxing Hal to 
churn out passages filled with 
sex, drugs, intrigue, and betrayal 
(each chapter required about 
two hundred passes through the 
system), he was taking courses 
in computational linguistics, nat- 
ural language programming, and 
artificial intelligence. 

Using stringent "if-then" rules 
for content and syntax, French 
tried to break down Susann's 
style Into something that Hal 

could emulate. By the time he 
was finished, he came up with 
over 20,000 rules which Hal then 
transformed into Just This Once. 
But getting it published was 
almost as difficult as getting it 
written. As French recalls, "I had 
publishers and editors who read 
it, who knew Jacqueline Susann 
and said, 'This is my project, this 
is great.'" Then the Susann es- 
tate threatened a lawsuit, and 
enthusiasm in the publishing 
community withered. For a while, 
no one would touch the book. Fi- 
nally, French connected with 
Steven Schragis. who heads 
Carol Publishing. Schragis, a 

lawyer himself, figured the odds 
and decided to risk it. "Can a 
computer violate someone's 
copyright?" asks Schragis. "Are 
we saying that computers may 
get so good at imitating style that 
human beings are allowed to 
copy style, but computers can't 
because they'll end up virtually 
replicating? These were the is- 
sues that were fascinating to me, 
and I was frankly anxious to be 
part of some sort of test of them." 
In the end, the suit was set- 
tled out of court. French and 
Schragis are prohibited from 
commenting on the terms, but 
credible sources claim the Su- 

sann estate gets about 50 per- 
cent of the profits. Looking back, 
French says copying Jacqueline 
Susann's style may not have 
been the best choice. He's think- 
ing of switching genres. Yet, the 
case raises some interesting 
questions about the viability of 
current copyright practices in to- 
day's increasingly electronic 
market. It also suggests the need 
for some hard thinking about the 
integration of artificial and 
human intelligence. While these 
are not issues easily resolved, 
the case against Hal does high- 
light the shifting ground that has 
many publishing industry insid- 
ers worrying about text 
online, electronic rights, 
multimedia expansion, 
and the application of 
legal constraints not only 
on the men and women 
who program comput- 
ers, but also on the in- 
creasing ability of com- 
puters to generate their 
own dialogue. 

Undeterred by the 
lawsuit, French recently 
called a best-selling au- 
thor of spy novels and 
asked if the author 
would object if Hal were 
programmed to emulate 
his style. The author was non- 
committal but, two weeks later, 
French got a certified letter from 
the author's lawyer; Try it, and we'll 
see you in court. But for French, 
there are always other authors. 
As for publisher Schragis, he says, 
"Part of me wants to do it again, 
but it would never be as much 
fun the second time around." 

It just may be, though, that 
where the publisher's fun ends, 
the lawyer's begins. When it 
comes to intellectual property, 
the law, and computers, there 
are volumes yet to be written. 
Who knows, maybe even Hal 
could lend a hand. DO 

Imitation, as 

the saying goes, 
may be the 
slneeresl form ol 
flattery, but 
as Scott French 
II may just land 
you In a 
court ol law. 



An old debate takes a new form. Plus, eating fat for endurance, and taking 

power plants on the road 

Twenty years ago it must have 
seemed improbable that the 
Internet, the obscure domain 
of researchers, academics, 
and gray pinstripes, would 
one day inspire front-page 
debate over the freedom of 
the Republic. But then again, 
it seems just as unlikely that a 
far-fetched physics experi- 
ment in a remote town called 
Los Alamos could foster a 
global security environment 
that would last until the dawn 
of a new millennium. Yet histo- 
ry shows us time and again 
how arcane high-tech pur- 
suits can have deafening 
political repercussions. 

As the leaders of the Washington-based Electronic 
Frontier Foundation well know, the complex package of 
technical issues surrounding the regulations of the data 
superhighway represent a serious political problem. But 
it's another issue altogether whether the hackers, 
gamers, and other digital devotees actually grasp the 
import of what's at stake in this high-stakes poker game 
that only a lobbyist could love. 

"Our constituency is rising to a level of a pc:ilica : 
force, whether they are aware of it or not," says EFF poli- 
cy director Jerry Berman. And even though the members 
of this constituency might be ignorant of the particulars of 
the political debate, the debate itself is strangely familiar, 
resembling nothing so much as a showdown between 
the ideas of Thomas Jefferson and his constitutional 
nemesis, Alexander Hamilton. Representing the 
Jeffersonians are the EFF and its allies, advocating open 
network architecture accessible to all, while certain 
precincts of government, worried about unregulated 
power in the hands of the masses, play the neo- 
Hamiltonian Federalists. 

Recently the Jeffersonians, with a modern libertarian 
streak, have begun to turn the tide. Berman speaks of 
congressmen who, persuaded by the EFF's arguments 
and doubtless vaguely fearful of the nascent electoral 
power of the growing digital crowd, voted to restrict the 
government's carte blanche privileges under the new 
digital telephony bili. He speaks of a vice president who 
accommodated the EFF's and others' request to redraft 
the government's Clipper Chip encryption proposal, 

which wou.d nave handed the 
feds a set of keys to anyone's 
networked conversations. And 
he tries vainly to recall a story 
anywhere near as shocking 
as those 1990 too-frequent 
illegal seizures of computer 
equipment by feds who didn't 
know DOS from DRAM. 

The developments of the 
past four years are tribute to 
the EFF's adroit play of the 
game Berman has called 
"belt way technopolitics." 
Newly relocated from airy 
Camon'oge to the dirty trench- 
es oi Washington, DC, the 
EFF is wielding its clout with 
vigor. Still, a little-discussed 
challenge remains; to transfer its genuine concern for 
Jetfersonian ideals to a constituency which is either stu- 
diously indifferent to politics or too polarized ideologies' y 
to engage constructively in the legislative process. 

Jon Lebkowsky, co-editor of the Austin-based Fringe 
Ware Review, and a member of EFF-Austin seems to be 
an exception to the apolitical rule, calling the Clipper 
Chip battle "one of the most exciting debates I've 
oi jccad into in years." But while heavywegh: pjnets i ke 
William Satire and The New Republic's Robert Wright 
have jumped eagerly into the debate supporting the 
inalienable rights of the cybercitizen, Lebkowsky doubts 
that many hackers share this passion for politics, 
Perpetually preoccupied with the technochallenge of the 
minute, many hackers seem to have little time or inclina- 
tion for advocacy. Meanwhile, groups that might have 
complemented the EFF, such as EFF-Austin and This!, 
have lost their initiative, direction, and leadership, 
Lebkowsky says. It is, perhaps, a problem inherent in an 
organization which champions a group leery of champi- 
ons, as badly as they might need one. 

If hackers were the radicals bent upon subversion that 
some would like to claim, then they might indeed be a 
potent political force — for better or for worse. But at least 
Jerry Berman wouldn't have to speak so longingly of their 
"tremendous unmarshaled power." And we might see the 
silent silicon majority hearken, finally, to the strident voic- 
es of Jefferson and Hamilton echoing out from behind 
computer screens accustomed to so many rapt, blank 



Dietary fat has acquired a 
bad reputation lately amongst 
the health conscious — it's 
often blamed for extra weight, 
high cholesterol, and 
even heart disease. But if 
you're involved in physical 
activities that demand endur- 
ance, dietary fat may not 
actually be such a villain. In 
fact, says physiologist 
David Pendergast, trendy low- 
fat, high-carbohydrate 
diets "may be detrimental 
to endurance performance." 

Pendergast and his 
colleagues in ihe Nutrition 
Program and Sports Med- 
icine Institute at the State Uni- 
versity of New York at Buf- 
falo put six trained distance 
runners on diets with vary- 

ing proportions of fat, carbo- 
hydrates, and protein for 
one week. The athletes then 
took a treadmill test in 
which they ran until exhaust- 
ed. The runners on the 
highest-fat diet (38 percent 
of total calories from fat) 


ran the longest— an average 
of about 91 minutes, com- 
pared to only about 78 min- 
utes for those on the low- 
est-fat (but highest carbohy- 
drate) diet. 

Would Pendergast's find- 
ings apply to other endur- 

ance set vk'tis tsssiJes run- 
ning? "Most definitely," he 
responds. "Your body does- 
n't care if you're running, 
oicyclng, swi—minc,, or even 
shoveling snow. What 
matters is the intensity and 
duration of the exercise." 
In fact, he suspects, "fat may 
have an important role 
even in short-burst activities 
like footbal' and tennis." 

So if you're fueling up for 
a marathon — or even for 
a club racquetball tourna- 
ment—you may want to 
increase your fat intake in- 
stead of lowering it. The 
day before a bout of endur- 
ance activity, Pendergast. 
recommends, "you should 
plan to increase your fat 
intake to about BO percent of 
your total calories." 

—Bill Lawren 

"To teach men how to live 
without certainty and yet 
without being paralyzed by- 
hesitation, is perhaps the 
chief thing philosophy can 
still do. " — Bertrand Russell 

vices — a vaginal contra- 

can occur, so this is when 

ceptive that releas-- 


a spermicide is most need- 

the right amount rf 

ed," Miller says. 

V^K -\j3 

micide at just the ■ 
ment to keep the 


So Miller and his col- 
league Lourens Zaneveld at 

sperm from fertiiiz 


Chicago's Rush-Presby- 

^^^H [HHiyj'"^'* 

The secret, e. 

terian St. Luke's Medical 


chemical enginee ' , 


Center are designing a 

lerof the Univer: , c 

diaphragm that uses a PMVE/ 


w ~*m ' 

Illinois at Chicag' j ; 


MA coating to release 

tech polymer ca 

spermicide only at the right 

■■'-.:, ■'•'I"' ,-i'^H ' 

PMVE/MA (polyn ■ 


moment — even if the 

.■'■■' Jtj^ '■"'■' ^-^U 

ether/maleic anfy . _. 

diaphragm is put in place 

PMVE/MA is very _ 


as much as a day be- 

to acidity; it holds tc.. 


fore intercourse. They'll test 

er in a low-acid enviror 


the device for safety on 

Anxious sperm swarm around ar 

sao ■'' : :&'.'.' :'3o:r:a! contra- 

but dissolves when th 

a small group of women later 

captive may work as welt as the piilin holdinp them back. 

local pH reaches 7. 

this year. If all goes well 

Therein lies the key 

with this and subsequent 


has nasty side effects, as do 

The normal pH of a woman's 

testing, Miller says, 


diaphragms and spermi- 

vagina is a sperm-killing 4, 

"we'll have a vaginal contra- 

cides if used too liberally. But 

but in the presence ol 


ceptive that works as 

Every woman knows that 

hold on; A group of scien- 

nal fluid, it rises within 


effectively as the pill. That 

birth control is often an 

tists has come up with what 

few seconds to a much 


should make a lot of 

unhappy trade-off. The birth- 

may become the state of 

sperm-friendly 7. 

women—and men — happy." 

control pill sometimes 

the art in birth control de- 

"This is when fertil 1 


— Bill Lawren 


Today's virtual reality pro- 
grams allow users to see, 
hear, and even move about 
in totally imaginary worlds 
with a striking sense of real- 
ism. Until now, though, it's 
been hard to get your hands 
on that virtual world. But 
J. Kenneth Salisbury, Jr. and 
Thomas Massie of the 
Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology have come 
up with a thimblelike device 
that can enhance the vir- 
tual reality experience with 
an authentic and even 
delicate sense of touch. 

Present force-reflecting VR 
systems, explains Massie, 
rely on straps or motorized 
gloves, which are not only 
expensive — one such system 
sells for a whopping 

Manufactured by the 
Vanceburg, Kentucky, firm 
SensAble Devices, Phantom 
sells for about S19,500. At 
that price, its early uses will 
probably be educational — 
training surgeons, for exam- 


$250,000— but clumsy. "By 
the time you strap these 

devices on," Massie says, 
"you're more encumbered 
than you are enabled." But 

Salisbury and Massie's 
device, dubbed Phantom, is 
simply a set of aluminum 
thimbles connected to the 
VR computer by motors, 
levers, and cables. Phantom 
allows users not only to 
touch objects in the virtual 
world, but also to perform 
procedures that demand dex- 
terity. They can paint pic- 
tures, for example, or even 
play handball. 

pie, or instructing subma- 
rine pilots. But within the next 
several years, Massie 

hopes to bring the cost down 
substantially, to about 
§400. "About the price," he 
says, "of a good radio-con- 
trolled car." 

And what about what may 
be the most obvious appli- 
cation: virtual sex? "I've made 
a personal decision not to 
go for that market," Massie 
responds, "but if someone 
develops that kind of software 
for my device, there's 
nothing I can do about it." 

— Bill Lawren 


To Moshe Alamaro's way 
of thinking, excess elecrica 
generating capacity is a 
wasted resource, ripe for ex- 
ploitation. And he's got a 
novel idea for tapping into 
these idle megawatts: no- 
madic industries that can rove 
from region to region, and 
even from country to country, 
taking advantage of cheap, 
surplus power wherever and 
whenever it can be found. 

These mobile plants could 
manufacture nitrogen fer- 
tilizer, suggests Alamaro, an 
Israeli immigrant based in 
Newton, Massachusetts, who 
holds patents on a tech- 
nique for making fertilizer 
using the simplest ingre- 
dients—air and water. The 
system relies on an arti- 
ficial lightning bolt, an electric 
arc, to create nitric oxide 
out of nitrogen and oxygen in 
the air. Mixing the nitric ox- 
ide with water and then com- 
bining it with minerals 
produces a nitrate fertilizer. 
Although Alamaro didn't 

originate the concept — a 
Norwegian plant oper- 
ating from 1905 to 1940 made 
use of the same basic 
technology — he did find a 
way to boost the process's 
efficiency and nitric oxide con- 
centration by factors of 
three and five, respectively. 

A second version of 
the mobile plant would pro- 
duce hydrogen from water 
by electrolysis. Hydrogen of- 
fers promise as a clean 
transportation fuel, since the 
only exhaust emission 
from hydrogen power is 
water vapor. 

The mobile factories would 
consist of interconnect- 
able, modular units that could 
be transported on trucks 
or rail cars. Assembly and 
start-up might take a mat- 
ter of days or weeks, rather 
than the years typically 
required to install permanent 
chemical plants. 

The electricity-intensive 
hydrogen and nitric-oxide 
processes become econom- 
ical, however; only when 
excess electricity is priced 
below 1.5 cents per kilo- 
watt-hour, about one-fifth the 
U.S. average. A utility in 
Washington State has offered 
to provide its temporary 
surplus power for about a 
penny per kilowatt-hour. 
After a year or two, when the 
surplus vanishes, Alamora 
can move the plants to other 
regions that have excess 
electrical capacity. . 

— Steve Nadis 


.'.' yC"j)e tired of "this won'' Hurt a bit" beiro followed hv a nesdis 
jab, an anesthetic patch may be just what the dentist ordered. 


Anyone who's ever gotten 
a Novocaine shot Will attest 
that the dental industry 
could really use a painless 
way to administer pain- 
killers.' Noven Pharmaceu- 
ticals of Miami, Florida, 
may have found one: a nee- 
dle-free dental patch like 
those used to deliver every- 
thing from nitroglycerin 
to estrogen. It could do away 
with the gum-numbing 
pain of Novocaine injections, 
a chief cause of dental 
anxiety, as it's coyly called in 
the profession. 

"The biggest challenge 
was adapting adhesive 
techniques for contact with 
oral mucosa, as opposed 
to skin," says Juan Mantelle, 
the company's director of 
development and new tech- 
nologies. Gum from the 
karaya tree, an acacia-fami- 
ly plant with a remarkable 
capacity to absorb water; pro- 
vided the solution to get- 

34 OMNI 

ting the patch to stick firmly 
inside the mouth. Noven 
mixes the karaya gum with 
dental anesthetics and a 
polyhydric alcohol solvent 
and then coats the back 
of the patch with it. 

Unlike swabs and gels that 
some dentists have tried 
on needle-shy patients, the 
Noven patch won't slide 
or slip, and the anesthetic 
won't smear, either. Thus 
it can be fixed to a specific 
spot, allowing dentists to 
apply concentrated doses of 
painkillers precisely where 
they want to drill. 

Currently undergoing 
Phase III human efficacy 
trials for Food and Drug Ad- 
ministration approval, the 
patch will probably see initial 
use as a pre-injection anes- 
thetic or for relief of mouth 
sores and lesions. 

—George Nobbe 

"The philosophers have only 
interpreted; the 
thing, however, is to change 
it " — Kafl Marx 


According to its manu- 
facturer; a relatively inex- 
pensive electronic 
gadget can let you watch 
your videotaped ball 
games, soap operas, or Star 
Trek episodes without 
being assaulted by pitches 
for hot dogs and per- 
sonal hygiene products. 

The $199 Commer- 
cial Brake builds a sort of 
video map of the pro- 
grams you're recording. The 
device, which attaches 
to your VCR, monitors the 
incoming television sig- 
nal and stores the locations 
of advertisements on 
the tape. 

Richard Leifer, president 
of Arista Technologies in 
Hauppauge,' New York, says 
the Brake isolates the 
clusters of fades to black 
that invariably precede 
all commercials, methodi- 
cally hunting those that 
are spaced closely togeth- 
er. It notes when the 
commercials start and end 
and encodes those loca- 
tions on the tape. 

When you'd normally en- 
counter commercials in 

your programs, you instead 
see a blue screen as 
the volume is turned off for 
three to ten seconds. 
The Brake is automatically 
fast-forwarding the tape 
to the point where the 
show resumes. 

What about the fades to 
black that occur in many 
programs? "It's damn close 
to 1 00 percent accurate 
in eliminating false fades 
that come from out in 
left field," says Leifer proudly. 

Arista's device, be- 
lieved to be the first of its 
kind, is simplicity itself. 
To set it up, all you have to 
do is connect the remote 
control-sized unit to the 
VCR, television, and 
wall outlet, turn on the 
VCR, and insert a tape. 
The Brake does the rest, 
automatically identi- 
fying your VCR's control 
codes and performing 
a self-diagnosis. It won't, 
however, stop your 
clock from blinking "12:00," 
— George Nobbe 

"The optimist proclaims 

we live in the best of at! pos- 
sible worlds, and the 
pessimist fears this is true. " 
— James Branch Cabel 


Having trouble getting a good night's sleep? Your brain may n 
making enougn ofine harrone melatonin. 


An Israeli scientist has 
found a way to give elderly 
insomniacs a restful night's 

sleep. Giving patients 
two milligrams of the hormone 
melatonin about two 
hours before bedtime resets 
the internal clock that 

"This is the first time mela- 
tonin has been found to 
ccrr6i£:s with insomnia," says 
Dr. Peretz Lavie, dean ol 
medicine at the Technion- 
Israel Institute of Technol- 
ogy in Haifa, whose findings 
were reported at an an- 
nual meeting of the American 
Sleep Disorders Associa- 
tion. The substance is pro- 
duced in rhythmical cy- 
cles by the brain's pineal 
gland, telling us when 
to sleep by producing large 
amounts of the natural 
hormone at night and very 
little during the day. 

The clock goes awry in 
many elderly people who 
suffer from insomnia because 
the brain stops making 
proper amounts of melatonin. 
In an initial test group of 
insomniacs, melatonin pills 
markedly improved the 
quality of their sleep. 

"There's no doubt it has 
hypnol. c properties," says 
Lavie, whose research group 

a:tacneo a device called 
an actigraph to the wrists of 
the subjects and com- 
pared the movements ot the 
hand against a predeter- 
mined set of normal sleep 
movements to determine 
how effective melatonin would 
be in reducing sleep on- 
set difficulties. 

The experiments now in- 
volve over 100 patients. 
In a companion study, Lavie 


has begun giving syntheti- 
cally produced melatonin to 
patients .with Alzheimer's 
disease who also have re- 
duced melatonin levels. 
The hormone works for them, 
too, according to prelimi- 
nary results. — George Nobbe 


Some critters walk, while 
others swim, fly, creep, or 
crawl to get around. Not the 
stomatopod, though. This 
tiny shrimplike marine animal 
from the Pacific beaches 
of Panama rolls. And it's the 
only known species in the 
animal kingdom that does. 

So says Robert Full, 
an associate professor of 
integrative biology at 
the University of California 
in Berkeley, who has 
videotaped the strange cart- 
wheeling crustaceans' 
which were discovered by 
a colleague who brought 
several back to the United 

36 OMNI 

States for laboratory study. 

Full says the creatures, 
whose Latin name is 
Nannosquilla decemspin- 
osa, normally live in 
underwater burrows so 
cramped that they may 
have gradually learned- to 
roll because evolution 
taught them that was the ■ 
only way to turn around. 
Periodically waves or tides 
wash them ashore, and 
it is there, when surprised, 
that they arc their bodies 
tail-over-head into a ring and 
roll back to the safety of 
the water at a glacial 3.5 cen- 
timeters per second. 

While the stomatopod can 
handle grades of 10 per- 

cent, it is unable to maneu- 
ver around obstacles 
and can- only move in a 
straight line. It's in a free 
roll less than half of thetime, 
according to Full's obser- 
vations. The rest of the crus- 
tacean's time is spent 
generating power by push- 
ing off with its head and 
tail, the same way we use 
our legs. 

"The results of 350 million 
years of evolution tell us 
that wheellike movement is 
a possible but improb- 
able method of locomotion 
on land," says Full, noting 
that the curious rolling facil- 
ity Gould have some 
practical applications in loco- 

motion mechanics for 
tiny robots. "By studying the 
mechanisms of loco- 
motion and learning how the 
muscles and skeleton 
work — looking at exceptions 
to rules like this — we 
could get some biological 
inspiration for robotics." 

— George Nobbe 











OF OOR TIME . . . 



find us peaceful, 
too. What 
took you so long 
We always 
believed — 


£.:■ ii. M 

what you're get- 
ting into. 
Prolonged con- 
tact with our 
species can only 
your present 
whatever they 

an irresistible idea: 
Could you pos- 
sibly stay around 
long enough 


The alien spacecraft settles noiselessly 
to the ground. Having been alerted by 
radio signals several weeks oefore of 
the extraterrestrials' peacefu, diplomatic 
mission to Earth, world leacers stand 
ready to welcome the visitors. As me 
aliens emerge. President Clinton steps 
forward on behelf of his peers to gree: 
them. He extends his hano and says . . . 

Well, your guess is as gooc as ours 
on that count. 

Omni asked Clinton recently what 
he would say to such an unprece- 
dented delegation. He never responded. 
Neither did First Lady Hiliary Rodham 
Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, White 
House senior adv : ser Geo-ge Stepnan- 
opoulos, or the members of the cabins'. 
Health-care reform, the crime bill, and 
not invading Haiti do make for a busy 
schedule, but couldn't they have found 
just a couple of minutes ;o ponoer such 
an intriguing scenario, particularly in an 
m QMNi 

era when more peop e than ever before 
believe that we are not alone in the 
universe? Or, for the conspiracy-minded, 
do they nave something to h : de? 

We posed our question to every 
member of Congress, too, and we're 
glad to repor: tnat one intrepid senator 
i'cm Tennessee sent us a delightful 
and 'nsightful answer, welcoming our 
fictional vis : tors as only a denizen of 
Capitol Hiil couic. We canvassec 
Staffers in virtually every branc.n of the 
federal government as well, and the 
three responses p'ove that while 
humor may oe rare indeed in the 
government, it's not altogether extinct. 

We didn't restrict our survey to the 
U.S. government. We asked world 
headers, governors of all 50 states and 
the U.S. territories, mayors of major 
U.S. cities, and influential figures in the 
arts, scence. the media, and other 
fieids. Four governors and ore mayor 

sent js though-iul responses, with the 
wily governor of Puerto Rico con- 
cocting a :ruly stellar ad campaign for 
his island's tourism industry. 

We heard from three Pulitzer 
Prize-winners: Playwright Arthur Miller 
delivered a cautiora'y m.essage to 
would-be visitors, humorist Dave Ba"y 
has a pressing question of his own, 
and Bloom County and Outiand 
cartoonist Berkeiey Breathed relayed 
his versior of Opus the Penguin's close 
encounter of the third kind. 

Cosmopolitan editor Helen Guney 
Brown reminded us In her response 
that hundreds of light-years 
must be terribly draining. Not to worry, 
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous nost 
Robin Leach and author Harlan Eltispn 
have -Mgired out tne perfect refresh- 
ments to o'ier peckish extra:e-"estria s. 

Those are just a few of the fasci- 
nating responses we received. 

Actually, some of the rotes from our 
survey subjects telling us why they 
couldn't answer our letter were even 
more entertaining, James Earl Jones. 
who gave voice to the most mposhg 
fictional alien around, Darth Vader, 
told us via his publicist that he's "rot 
comfortable with this k'nd of article 
and does not feel he has aryth ng to 
say in this contex:." Maryland governor 
William Donald Schaefer 'orefe's not 
to comment on possib e extraterrestrial 
beings visiting Eartn." Dav.d Letter~an. 
according to his executive assistant, is 
"currently cutting all of his 
into making the show a complete suc- 
cess." We were hoping that Dave would 
deliver one of his trademark Top Ten 
lists, out since ne didn't come through, 
we went ahead and made up our own. 
Now we'd like to hear from Omni% 
readers. What would you say to a 
peaceful alien delegation to Earth? 

"Every oay. radio te'escooes around 
the wond lister for signals ema- 
nating from cv iizations outsioe our 
solar system,' read the letter Omni 
sem pjt .ast summer. "What would 
happen if they picked up those 
lorg-awaited signals? What wouid 
happen if. when translated, thpse 
signals said, 'We are peaceful, and 
we're dropping by fo r a visit'? 

"What would you say to those 
visitors when they landed?" 

Send your greeting, along with 
your name, city, and state, to: 
Readers' First Contact, Omni, 324 
West Wendover Avenue. Suite 205. 
Greensboro, North Carolira 27408. 
Or you may E-mail your response to 
omnireoly@-aol.ccmi, All responses 
must be received by February 28. 
We' print the cest in an upcoming 

Jo~Bph Duffey 

Director. U.S. information Agency 

I would be torn, as many mignt oe. 
between the impulse to be oh so 
serious and the impulse to oe ve-y. 
very silly. In any case. I submit to you 
two greetings, ore for each impulse: 

"At ast! An impartal jury for the 0. 
J. Simpson -r al," 

"We. come, strange's, Were you 
lonely, too?" 

Jane Alexander 

Chairman. National Endowment -'.:- ;-? 


l woulc say, "Let me show you ■■■'=. 
it means to be numan," And men I 
would take tnem to the theater me 
symphony hall, the opera house, :he 
movies, the museums. I would shpw 
them our great architecture and 
design. r ead poem.s, tell stories to 
tnem, take them to see the paintings of 

da Vinci, Georgia O'Keeffe, and 
Picasso, to a Greek iragecy or a 
comedy by Shakespeare, to hear Louis 
Armstrong, Mozart, and Oklahoma! ■ 
would show them the grace of dancers, 
the elegarco of a cow passec across 
the violin's strings, and the profundity of 
a child drawing a picture of her mother. 
And then, after a crash course in our 
culture, when they gair insight ir:o our 
i~-agha: : ve Ire, our :ruest expressions 
of our humarity. I woulc ask tnem: "What 
is art where you live?" Anc I would 
hope to be swept up by their story. 
And I would hope that we could go on 
telling each other our stories long after 
they had iniended to fly away. 

Leonard Nimoy 
Actor and director 

Due to language barriers and oiher 
socioloc cal cc 'l sic caters, it s highly 
unlikely tha: we will have any success 
with verbal communications. I nave 
therefore handec tne a=sign-ent to my 
fn'eno, Speck, who is highly s<i ec -i 
nonverbai diplomacy, i nave c-oa: t'_;s: 
that he wil handle matters successfully 

Berkeley Breathed 

Cartoonist Bloom County. Outlanc 

Prior ties would nave to be decided, 
of course. Naturally, official victim 
status would need to be established, a 
grievance group founded, and. letter- 
heads designed, A suitable temn for 
their minority would reed to be 
determined even before '.heir feet, or 
tentacles, o r ambulatory hair -o'licles 
reached the ground from tne ! r craft, 
For instance, "alien of coior" or "non- 

oossibly s:ay around long enough to 
do a couple of xurism-promoton 
commerc ais for us?" 

What an opportunity! I can see i: new: 

co'-r ■ :: : ; -e-:-chal ei-god I he / as 
Angeles Times would have to be 
informed of :nese terms and :nei' 
style::.::- ^cop: atcly cnarged. 

A: :-:?.: ooir: wo couid move fo'warc 
to r.j. --j ccwr a me-c^andis ng dca. 
Anytning else would be small talk. 

Peo r o Rosseiio 
Governor. Puerto Rico 

Friendly star-travelers arn've. How as Larding Site One because :he first 

do I greet tnem? Search for Exrra-erres-'ial IrteUgence 

All right- Let's see. jSETI) signals they -ece veo were 

Well, I guess I could do worse than transmitted 're- :he wcr d-famous 

to give them our standa'd :rea:mert .. . rad'o telescope s *ua:ed n tne 

"Welcome to Puerto Rico, the rno.jra.ns abeve A-ecibc. Pue'to Rco. 
United States' Island of Ercnanmer: in W'na - a dea I Are we or ns map, or 

the Cariboean Sea . . . and — since tne v/haP Is our ac~.ssicn as Americas 

ronor seems to nave fallen to me— en 5"st s:ate a c nch c whaP Am I as 

behah of all God's creatures on this gooc as re-elected or wftaf? 
pane:, welcome :o Earth.' What, what, wnai? Alas, the a;arm 

Assumiing tney understood that clock rang ard I wo^e uo. Bu; i: sure 

much in either Scan sh c Engl sh I was fur w->ile : astec. 
might tnen be inspired to add , , . 

"Dent :a<e '.ris wrong, esteemed Amo Penzias 

v s'to's. oul yeu' decieedly exlra- 'Ace President of Research. A Ti T Se:: 

Eei"esTi" a aopcarance — coup : sd with Laos 

you- magnificent venicle— have giver Personally, I'd ' ke to make sure ihat 

me an irresis: b'e idea: Could you both sioes goi a lot of preparatory 

men: spots. Sure enough. 


10. Want tickets to 
Miss Saigon? 

Sirajul, have we 
got a great trip for 

5. So how's Eivis 
doing these days? 

2. The world leaders 
gave the aliens 
all kinds of fabulous, 

9. And now, anew 
segment on 
the show: "Stupid 

Exotic locations, 


urn, life-forms . . . 

ft ' "^M 

■4. Is it true that 
the face on Mars is 
really an uncanny 
likeness of Michael 

expensive gifts, 
and it turns out all 
they really wanted 
were some T-shirts 

8. From our new 

home office on the- 
planet . . . 

6. Those aliens 
have only been here 
two days, and 
already they've signed 
a movie deal and 

■ . jH 


3. You know, I saw 

E.T.. and you 

guys are much taller 

thai said, "My 
friends visited Earth, 
and all I got was 
this lousy T-shirt!" 

7. Hey Ivlujibur and 

dated Madonna. 

in person. 

1. Bu::sfuoco! 


World P r 

i i\ 






k -- - - C 

For 250 years, these huge stone 

, ;j^i 

statues have baffled explorers. 



Who are these giants? Where 
did they come from? 

1 - 





'".■'.; ■ 

What has preserved the body 
8 of St. Francis Xavier from 


§ decay for over 400 years? Do 
cobras really dance to their 

masters' tunes? 


|: JANUARY 19 


i ^ 


: Can the hand of a martyred 

II fi\lil/I IIIIIl\ 

saint work miracles? Does the 

Hi y UWL/l M\f UkJ 


blood of St. Januarius predict 
the eruptions of Vesuvius? 

immjjmmi^^^mmssmME / 

H : ' ^ — ^ 

11 JANUARY 26 




Human bodies burn — leaving 


v ^mJ 

the surroundings undamaged. 



Explore the theories behind 


' i« 

- 1 ,. 




mate-al befce the folks .n cuc-stion ac- 
tually set flipper on the Earth, Given 
their evident technological superiority, 
we would probably have to take their 
peaceful intentions at face value and 
help them get as much data about us 
as they woulc care to have. Hopefully, 
that would give them enough insight to 
avoid triggering a social calamity when 
ore of tnem gets or a talk show, or 
meets an overly ambitious politician. 

Assuming then, that I could leave 
such pract'cal cares asioe, i'd tell them 
about our attempts to find the meaning 
of life. Like us, they probably know 
more than they can prove. Perhaps we 
can find some common ground in our 
contemplation of the universe we both 
inhabit. I'd sure like to find out. 

Dave Barry 

"Do you guys have csole 9 " 

Paul Bonannan 
An'hropoiogis: and writer 

What would I say to an "extra- 
terrestrial delegation" visiting Earth? 

It seems to me thai it makes little dif- 
ference what we say. Far n-ore impor- 
tant is that we listen and pay attention 

to what we hear The most important 
single factor would be overcoming our 
r'ea-s. Human nature developed evolu- 
tionary in a situation that made it wise 
for us to distrust strangers. First con- 
tact between Columbus and the 
Caribbean natives began on a friendly 
note— out both were soon overcome 
by fear; the shuatior deteriorated fast 
and Columbus kidnapped several of 
them. The Pilgrims were greeted in 
Eng sh when tney landed — a local In- 
dian had spent twenty years as a slave 
in England, recogrized them, and 
could talk to them. Unfortunately we 
have no record of what either of them 
said, Cortes had a clumsy system of in- 
lo'p'-ctatcr (fro— Aztec :c Mayan via 
his Indian mistress and from Mayan to 
Spanish via a Spaniard he had "'res- 
cued" after some years among the 
Maya, including a Mayan wife), 

be ihe interpreter? Do we trust the inter- 
preter'- Hew co we dsa. win our own ter- 
ror that tnese extratc-csha s have come 
to dest-ov uS? Hm do we keep from 
mobbing vr killing or ens aving them? 

The o'oo em s w til oirse ves at 
east as much as with tne aliens, no 
matte' wnat orob-o-ns hey p'esert. We 

lc what, r 
■t present. 

What we hear from inside oj'se ves— 
our own fears — : s of far greater mo- 
ment than what they near from us (and. 
without that interpreter, wouldn't under- 
stand n any case). Only then can we 
talk to them! 

Bruce Campbell 

Actor. The Adventures of Brisco 

County, Jr., Evil Dead 

If friendly aliens happened upon our 
planet, rr.y message to them wouid be 
very simple: "What took you so iong^i" 

Kirk Fordice 
Governor, Mississippi 

"Welcome to the State of Missis- 
sippi one of fifty United States of 
America, on a planet itrcwn as Earth, 
third planet from the sun, located in th s 
beautiful outer fringe of the Milky Way 
We greet you in peace. 

We welcome you in the same ad- 
venturous spi-it that led you to break 
away from your home planets — if in- 
deed you come from planets— for we 
have a history of courageous adven- 
ture al our own. Ou^ country was Dis- 
covered by a man who bravely went 
against conventional w.sdom that the 
world was flat in order to found a New 
World— Amerca. Brave souls fro— all 
continents of Earth left the only hemes 


E A T 



tf$ty ll%i-Pinkit 'Folk, Missouri: 

It u/csnt until 2 years after his alleged 
abduction fry aliens that Chcrlene suspected 
[bet portions other husbands brain hud 
indeed been removed by the ettratemdtials. 

fiylthouih thtfhM sfo/ten in years, it 
suddenly dawned on chief clonics technician 
P/&lt P. that the Jane Doe in HI uas in 
actuality his first wife, f:mice Marie. 


Own the official pewter sculpture of the spectacular 


Deep spfice nine 

Authorized and 
fully authenticated by 
Paramount Pictures. 

i Cenlur v Spate Station at the heart a! STAR TREK: DEEP 

I by Par 
»«ftherloc : 

Fine Pewter. 24 Karat Gold. Blazing Crystal Cabochons. 

P/ease ivoi! by !onwy3! ! 995 
The Franklin Mint 
Franklin Center, Pfi 19091-0001 

Please enter my order for the ohile! pewffli srjpture c" "he 
STAR TREK:^ DEEP SPACE NINE 7 Spots Stc-io- v autio-izsd and 
fjlly authenticated by Paromojnt PVure; 

I need SEND NO MONEY NOV.- I wi I be bil ed : cr $39* F' cr 
to shipment of my specially imported sculpture, and for the bal- 
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"Flas my slate ;;■'?!■:; :■: 
B me-time charge of S3, hi skipws ■:■■: -:-: -; 

SIGNATURE AL OBDEr „ R „ 3J5 -,„ ft - Ea ., N ,. = ■ 

MR/MRS/MISS —_ — — _ 



they had ever known to come to this 
New World in search of freedom from 
oppression of all kinds: 

We hold these truths to be self-evi- 
dent, that all men are created equal, 
that they are endowed by their Creator 
with certain unalienable Rights, that 
among these are Life, Liberty, and the 
pursuit of Happiness.— Declaration of 

We welcome you also in the names 
of the brave men and women of Earth's 
space programs, who gave enor- 
mously of their talents and lives to 
reach the moon and beyond. As you 
pass our only natural satellite, please 
note the American flag symbolizing the 
"giant leap" of faith, resources, and de- 
termination we made in achieving this 
victory over the cold void of space. I 
deeply regret to say that it has been al- 
most a quarter of a century since we 
nave ventured so far out again, This is 
attributable to the shortsightedness of 
many of our past and present elected 
leaders. It is my sincere hope that this, 
too, will pass and that, once again, we 
will take to the stars in quest of knowl- 
edge and excellence— and the many 
benefits that obtaining such knowledge 
bestows on all humankind. 

We commend your obvious techno- 
logical achievements from which we 

hope to learn. We invite you tc sa~oe 
the great literature, artwork of all kinds, 
pinnacles of philosophical and reli- 
gious thought, and marvelous botany 
and wildlife comprising our planet and 
history. We are a world and a species 
of enormous potential. If you come to 
evaluate us, judge us on our suc- 
cesses as well as our failures. While we 
have not always made the best use of 
our potential, we are a species of much 
courage, capable of great understand- 
ing, conviction, and achievement." 

Harlan Mathews 

U.S. Senator, Tennessee 

I would we come exKats-restria : visi- 
tors to Washington, DC, by telling them 
I thought I'd landed on a different 
planet myself when I came here two 
and a half years ago. If they'd arrived 
during some days of the 103rd Con- 
gress, I'd have asked for a lift back to 
Tennessee. They'd probably be drop- 
ping Elvis at Graceland, anyhow, and 
my native Nashville is on the way. 

My first words would be directed to 
my fellow senators. I'd say that If ex- 
traterrestrials can traverse a galaxy to 
reach Capitol Hill, Republicans and 
Democrats should be able to cross a 
carpet to reach a compromise-. 

1994 was an election year, so ex- 

Vs^ -Mi 


'f~p> SAflU 

traterrestrials might be mistaken for 
newly arriving senators and congress- 
men— many of whom already are sus- 
pected of being from another planet. 
Of course, the extraterrestrials proba- 
bly spent less to get here, and they ar- 
rivc-ci oy spacesnip, whereas pol^cians 
usually reach Washington by telling 
voters what an awful place it is. 

Most of all, I would welcome our 
new friends with a particular hope; that 
the people of our worlds — not the gov- 
ernments or ambassadors but the 
everyday folks who constitute the life of 
worlds — will share wondrous oossib li- 
ties. I would assure them we are not 
perfect nor is our Earth ideal. But I also 
would say there is sometning in hu- 
manity that tries to rise above our 
shortcomings. For that, we are worth 
knowing. I would add my hope that the 
meeting of our worlds will make us 
both better than we are aione. 

Douglas Rushkoff 

Author. Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of 


My response may come off as flip at 
first, but it really does encapsulate 
what I'd say if they came: "Please par- 
don our appearance while we remodel." 

Tom Servo 

Urbane robot co-host of Mystery 

Science Theater 3000 

Okay, first off, let's not make the 
classic and erroneous assumption that 
anybody who's able to hurl a can a few 
dozen light-years is automatically 
smarter than us. I mean, sure, it's a mo- 
mentous occasion anc all, but we don't 
have to fall all over ourselves to show 
them how friggin' great they are, do we? 

I think you snould let me handle this. 
First, I'd open with a joke. Let's assume 
that if they're so damn smart to come 
here in the first place, they'd know a lit- 
tle of the local tongue. If the aliens had 
butts, I might try the classic, "Can I 
touch your butt?" That'd catch 'em off 
guard; it always does. If they under- 
sxoc this ris-cy yet sensi: ve greeiinc. 
they might immediately sense our 
strength and vulnerability, t'ne essen- 
jri.iy oualistic nature of the earthbound, 
eternally struggling for balance and 
equanimity, grasping for the serene su- 
pernal, yet mired in the physical plane, 
the poignant, ironic, fragile state of the 
world community. Then perchance they 
might offer us their butts to touch, and 
a new age for humankind would open, 
the childhood endeth, the future made 
manifest, a communion transcending, 
beyond time and space. 

Then again they might hit me and 
go right back where they came from, 
so ; probably wouldn't open with, "Can I 





projects by voting down the contnjed 
funding of the mammoth supercon- 
ducting supercollider, the multibillion- 
dollar proton smasher in Texas. 

Nevertheless, Clinton and Vice Pres- 
ident Al Gore, in a joint White House 
memorandum released in August of 
1994, reiterated tneir support for major 
funding of science and technology 
projects stating that "This Administra- 
tion is committed to making today's 
tv e slm sir in science a :oo priority for 
building the America of tomorrow." 
Clinton has thus far managed to con- 
vince a reluctant Congress to give him 
a sizable portion of his science budge: 
By the end of September 1994, he had 
signed thirteen general appropriations 
bills, including funds earmarked for 
science research and technology, be- 
coming the first president since Truman 
to get such a sizable amount of fund- 
ing past the lawmakers on Capitol Hill in 
so i rnely a manner. According to the Of- 
fice of Science and Technology Policy, 
the 1993 Research and Technology 
budget hit $69.9 billion, with a 
drop in 1994 funding to $68.3 
billion, However, a modest 4 
percent increase has been 
proposed for the 1995 budget 
fora.totalof$71 billion. 

Even so, many sc,en:ists 
are beginning to wonder if 
American research can sur- 
vive dwindling federal funding 
and closer public scrutiny. 
With the conclusion of the 
Cold War. a fundamental re- 
assessment of federal funding 
for American research was 
demanded by a bipartisan bloc of con- 
cress onal budget-watchers. Most of 
these sceptics, in the name of fiscal re- 
sponse Nty, called for an immediate 
shift of resources from military to civil- 
ian projects. The glory days for local 
research and development came to a 
screeching halt under the pressure of a 
sluggish economy and a growing fed- 
eral deficit, According to 1991 science 
and engineering data released by the 
National Science Board (NSB), the av- 
erage yearly increase in total American 
researci and development spendng 
jumped 1 .2 percent between 1 985 and 
1991, compared to a vibrant growth rate 
of 6.9 percent between 1980 and 1985. 

Despite Clinton's pledge to reverse 
this funding slide, Congress has tight- 
ened its purse strings. American scien- 
: ; sla watched intently as the pres den: s 
Ill-fated economic stimulus package 
containing a $445 million supplement 
to the 1993 iederal research budget 
was savaged by lawmakers from both 
political parties. These funds were not 
added to a smaller budget that passed 

50 OMNI 

months later temporarily depriving of 
needed capital :;evera (ooera'iy ass sted 
sms -scale orojec:s funded oy :he Na- 
tional Science Foundation (NSF). 
Cosily resos'cn proects a'e getting the 
cold shoulder— even p-es:iglous items 
such as the ambitious space station 
Freedom. Fortunately, a last-minute 
surge of support permitted the expen- 
sive project to squeak by congres- 
sional opposition by one vote in the 
spring of 1993, and by a more comfort- 
able margin in 1994. The problem, of 
course, is the oscaiai re costs a::achec 
to long-term projects. Eleven years 
ago, for instance, ns estmated cost of 
Freedom was about $8 billion, but by 
1993, the price had soared to more 
than $30 billion, That size of investment 
worries an American public eager to 
put bad fiscal times behind them. 

"We have noted a trend in the pub- 
lic and phvate sectors to give less 
funding to long-range projects, espe- 
cia y resea'cn and ceveloo merit" sayn 
Representative George 3'cwn (D-Cali- 







fornia). charman o J the House Science 
Committee. "A lot of people feel such 
projects can be canceled or post- 
poned. This is no! surprising in ha-c 
times." According to Brown, congres- 
sional subcommittees have been cut- 
ting about S1 billion annually from 
research funds in recent years to put 
into social programs. "This scaling- 
back is likely to continue until there is 
an economic turnaround and an easing 
of the federal deficit," he adds. 

If the funding for research and tech- 
nology continues to dwindle, America's 
technological prowess will decline. 
Nevertheless, current NSB statistics in- 
dicate that total U.S. outlays for re- 
search continue to surpass those of its 
four nearest industrial competitors, al- 
though Japan and Germany spend 
more of their gross national product on 
the development of new Technology 

Congressman Brown says one ob- 
stacle to higher spending levels for 
U.S. research is a growing anise once 
bias among the American public that 
.no longer sees the relevance of sci- 

ence to soc etal goals Each vea/ 
since the heady days of John F, 
Kennedy's New Fronter and tne glow- 
ing successes of the Apollo miss ens. 
Americans have become less and less 
enthusiastic for basic science re- 
search, particularly when the amount of 
ava laivs 'ederal cap ta has smink. 
We are no longer comoeting with the 
Soviets for soace supremacy, and our 
national pride is no longer at stake. 
'Science has never oeen poo-jlar with 
cera n segments of the pepuiaton. es- 
pecially those who are opposed to 
technology," says Alben Teich, direstc 
cf sc ence ana policy urograms for the 
American Association for the Advance- 
ment cf Science (AAAS). 'You will 
neve.' have total puclic suppo't lor sci- 
ence, A president, nowever can se: 
the tone— as Clinton is doing now— by 
seeking to Involve the government in 
promoting technology." 

Experts such as Teich worry that the 
proposed 1995 federal research bud- 
get may not be sufficient after the oulk 
of the funcs goes into pri- 
ority defense p-oects Of 
the federal research bil- 
lions, $39.5 billion, or 
about 55 percent, is slated 
for the Defense Depart- 
ment for further develop- 
ment of weapons. The 
remainder of the funds is 
split among other agencies 
such as the National Insti- 
tutes of Health (NIH) and 
the NSF, which backs 
much of the independent 
research around the coun- 
try. A mac concern at many sc entis:s 
is that the reduced penon cf funds a - 
located for the type of basic researcn 
benefiting the average American "s 
very small — much too small, 

American scientist- anc researcners 
however, are an enterprising lot Al 
NASA, agency officia s sn f:ed gears 
after facing growing opposition to their 
expanding space program :o stress 
technological advances. At their aero- 
nautics research wing at the Langley 
Research Center at Hampton, Vrg'nis. 
a host of long-term projects are under- 
way, includng improved serse-s Ic dc 
iec: wine shear high-speed transport 
jets capable of traveling at suoerscnic 
speeds with advanced nose-recuctior 
technology, and new equipment to re- 
duce fuel emissions from rvgh- perfor- 
mance aircraft. 

"Some of our projects will orocuce 
incredible technological acvances. es- 
oecially our work in the aeronautics 
field," says ? aul Hc-loway, director or 
NASA's _angley Roses -ch Genie- -.'■:: 
-resident Gee ca ea aeionautcs ri-= 

Big screen TV. Now available on a slightly smaller scale. Thanks to Active Matrix 
Technology, and some small thinking on our part, you can enjoy the sharp, brilliant picture 
of a big TV on a little screen. The Casio Crystal Vision crystal 
Pocket Color TV. Just under 2 inches. Just under S2DC. HBBBPN ] 


crown ewel of American nclus:ry. and drugs icrme'iy c scalded by onaT'-..; 
he's right." Without :ne space stauon ceutical com oar es fcr new ourpcse: 
and manned space f : gnt. Holloway in- arc s snow ng some premiss. For e> 

daily serious side effects 

But all of this cutting-edge i-esear:;l 
deoeros or an -.inin-e-'jpood casn I cs 
from Congress and that so go: has 
boon cosine- b : by bi: n 'ecer: yea 1 "; 

keep the Uri:ed Stales eoero~ oa ly 
compsiilvc I 1 Ire -ra-kotoaoc ' he say:,. 
Funding in the oio^edica -esearco 
field has flattened out and even 
slipped in related areas such as phar- 
maceuticals and b ogenetics, accord- 
ino ".c Dr. Frcderc-. Gooowir. c 'oc:o' 
of the National Institute of Menia 
Health (NIMH). Started in 1946 as one 
of the four foundation agencies of the 
Narional Institutes 07 Health, the NIMH 
losi aooui 35 oercsn: cr its research 
funds in the 1970s after it sol t avvav 
from NIH— a move associated with a 
broaden ng of its mission to include 
seiNrg up mens nea.;-h centers across 
the country. Goodwin adds that it re- 
cently returned to the fold, after enjoy- 
ig several years of "catch-up" funding 
for its research mission. Researoners 
supported by the NIMH are currently 
working to target drugs to specnc 
o'air sues ic featment of vai ous dis- 
orders incuding cepress en ard schiz- 
ophrenia. Tne effort includes screening 

used in co""b.";alior wi ; t no eL-rca'd 1 
drugs o'escribed ic :hese conditions. 
Experiment are also progressing on 
creamg new cc"-QCunds designee to 
-oo fy behavior s:ates such as de- 

i by 

various brain 
/, with starting 


:n. Researches such as Dr. 

William Potter, the heac of tne NIViH's 


ogy section, say this futuris- 

ch to treating mental illness 

ing on a genetic level may 

not oe ava 

laoie for at least another 30 

years, eve 

n with the use of advanced 


gleaned from molecular bi- 

eloay 'ao 

. When [his mode ot feat- 

men coos 

pub c. mental disorders will 

oe trea;ec 

wth genetically altered eel's 

on projects, and to sasn oos;s. Cen- 
ters for :h s coiooi w-i ; oe stadeneo 
throughout tne country. Data wil be 
provded :o other countries wtn some 
provisions for privacy. 

L ke biomedca: resea'cn. wok n 
other major rcsea'cn areas incluo ; ng 
env 'ci""e"ita b-'oogy. oes::cide meni- 
toring. and :he Human Genc~e Pro ec: 
ane alsc feeling the squeeze from a 



For me, Antarctica begins 
in the midd'e of the night 
as I am ■■eluctarr.iy orawn 
from a heavy sieep. The 
ship I am traveling on has 
begun to roll bac* ano 
forth, oack and fortn — with 
a long cre-e-e-aking sound 
in eacn direction that 
makes it fee as though the 
ve;"y "bones" of the vessel 
have bee*- disturbed. With 
each successive move, my 
body Is thrust o'own the 
sheets to re end o : the 
bunk, then oack uo agair 
until my head is =mmed in:o a caoin wall. 

I am cross ng re D'ake Passage, one of 
the roughest sea; n the world, with a group of 
80-odd tourists ''z~ Ene American Museum of 
Natural History in New York City. Here, In the 
Southern Ocean, rs wind whips around Ant- 
arctica unimpeosc z_. any larc mass to break 
up the storms, as if w guard the ccntirent from 
;hose who may see< access. It is no wonder 
:het sailors nickna~e^ these latitudes the 
■'Roaring Forties" ano "Furious Fifties," 

The Drake is, in essence, a rite o : oassage 
to :ne bottom of the earth that Antarctic 
travelers must still endure In the '800s. 
sealers and whalers first .c.agec this way. 

Tnen came the early south- 
oolar explorers: heroic 
™en Ike Shack eton, Scott, 
and Amundsen who only 
managed to se: : oot on the 
icebound continent in the 
last 100 years. Now many 
o- the scientists who come 
:o study this land— and 
ihe visitors, like us, who 
follow — take this same 
perilous -oute. 

Ventur'ng to Antarctica 
s like journeying to another 
olanet right here on our 
own. It is a foreboding 
destination, where ice, often more than a mile 
thick, covers much of the surface and 200- 
mile-an-hour winds can relentlessly blow for 
days on end. During the winter months, 
temoeratures of minus 75 degress Fahrenheit 
are common at the interior. 

Antarctica is not a country, province, 0' 
ternary, but a nuge icecap (about the size of 
the United States ano Mexico combined) 
governed by an 'nternational treaty and set 
aside exclusively for peaceiui, scientific 
research, Technically, 'i : s owned 'ov no one — 
there are no native nhabitants— and anyone 
who comes is truly an "alien" who could not 
survive without special Slothing and shelter to 


wield off the tern 
mapS: the contin! 
mysterious and WR 
weld, it appcarcc 
Incognito" or unknn 
Over the next ' 
cover more than < 
separate landing 

■lave :■: 


unfold ir a 

air temc 
oopj aiio 











■vercast, We have crossed :h 

■ergerce— an invisible biological 
:r :hat separates the Amarctic from the 

- siaple 
i- white 
;rat rg 

"all crouos o" oas- 

n as cc 

L.pc-i ; 

~e:h n 

t ap- 

pears mo'e ike a floa: ng slant! than 
anything else; a huge. ™y; 
object some 4,000 feet in length, with 
smooth, straight sides that rise up an- 
othe' 100 ~eet above :ne wate r 's sur- 
face. "It's a signt,' says <en Hasls". 
the ship's doctor, "that makes you -'ee 
like, this is Antarctica, I've finally ar- 
rived in Antarctica." 

As mammoth as this iceberg 
seems, we are seeing only the small 
portion that is visible above the water 
line. These giant-sized tabular bergs 
break off from huge ice snelves that 
surround parts of the continent, then 
float out to sea, four-fifths of their bulk 
hidden underneath the ocean, com- 
pletely out of view. 

But nothing, not even the sgnt o~ s 
tabular icePcg. quke prepares one fc 
the stark, onysical grandeur of the cor- 

fhen I 

r anu- 

.:;;■:■" ca'ied :ne -enrsjla' wr ci ob- 
trudes up and north toward South 
America — it is more vast and desolate 
than anything my mind had ever con- 
jured up, like a 'rozen Una' andscape 
right here on Earth. Rugged mountain 
after mountain, thousands of feet up. 
seem almost to spn'ng from the water, 
The black, jagged peaks — known by 
the adopted Inuit/Es^mo rarne of 
"nunataks" — lock ike gian: oieces of 
coa draped in wnite, icy cloaks 

Prist ne snow neics a-e evsrywhe-e, 
and alpine glaciers— frozen rivers of 
ice that move under their own weight — 
snake through :he valleys and spill 
down to the water's edge. Occasion- 
ally, aloud cracK or muffled, ihu.nderlke 
no se can oe heard off in the o. stance. 
Th-s is the birth cry of a small iceoerc, 

one that nas jus: "oa ved or" from the 

ly ■■ evassed ice ciiffs of a glacier. 

There is no sign of man anywhere; ho 
o:hc ooa:s, no powe' nes, ro jet cen- 
trals. And the a:r seems almost too 
clean :o breathe. Tnis is tne wildest, 
loneliest place I have ever been, 

More and more c aciai icebergs ao- 
pear, or.en Phgh: blue in color. This is 
not a reflection eff tne water or sky. but 
;he sign of old, very compressed ce 
where a I the ?> "nr ree" squeezed 
out. And over time, tne wine ano waier 
eat away a: these nczen nu us, some- 
:.mes sculpting them .n:o fantastic 
snapes: "ice'' wnaJes, ducks, a Sohinx- 
shaped lion, 

Deck-watching is a tiTe-consu™ing 
o-occss s:reicnec ever days and days, 
Put The payeffs are sometimes enor- 
mous. We pass by slumbering crab- 
eater anc Wetiell seals napping on ice 
fees A; one poin-, two huge pciehed 
dark olue ceoergs aopear, oeope-eo 
with line after Ime of chinstrap pen- 
guins (a variety namec for the thin 
o ac-! mark that appears under their 
peaks), "here a-e s:. least 500 of :hese 
animals 'esting on c-acn iceberg, two 
nuge congregations o~ biros a: sea. "I 
couic; s:a.ncl he's a day " says passen- 
ger Ethe Chiang, a young emergency 
department physic : sn from the Mid- 

s: 'east sixteen VVher;.-. ..r "oc : y glee's =-3 10 
opening in the pack ce nuge exoloc- aw^ay. "here m 
mg bodies are popping out. up and up anc 

■: .: ■ i': ■ ■■. i ■ ■■ ::i -o\ '■ i: ieeneci - 

over the bow, spraying even the top heaven. And foi 
decks with water. And ens ge:s a -eal attemp: H-<; in 
appreciation for what the early expo:"- end ess-s ~- 
ers — the voyagers who made - across ■■.-.■■ -ic re- in-;-: " "... 
in the so-cal ed e-a of wooden shies ice turns ye' ow 
and iron -nen— must nave srot-e 
Later on in the tr p. we w II meet fa 
amateur English sa c-s wno have :■ t 
to repeat a famous Antarctic expedite 
ied by Ernest Shack e:cr bac< If B 

ing straight dat 

. in. And n an hoir o r so. tne sun 
s orce more, and :he day starts all 

indings s:ep up. We use 

i and the toucn bu: 

early ■ 
■ai oo; 

great cathedrals 
i and ice-over, A 
i -he off-duty Rjs; 
nbermsds— come 

There is no smoking n; 
no eating on shore; rules 
to stand fror- Ino wile f 

(Dcwr tee. tne larer event s sucn a 
raritv that the -ecUaiion can be 
summed up in, us: one line. "If fs 

'Ask your mother." 

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■e l-, ; ::i.i ~.l:x.:: Cc-fr- -0 x+liX Santa Fe, NM 87504 

Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide 

Rid your home or plant of pests and vermin with the 

Rodelsonix IX „ = „ 

still only *69 2S * 

each day— is 
line, drapec 

; a clothes 
:hed pants 

j -ed ackels come 

ing Amarct ca car. oe al limes, 

There a"e some serious te-ritcal 
oisputes between dffe-ent counties in 
Antarctica— especially among Ar- 
gentina. Britain, and Chile— but you 
wculc never Know i: down on the conti- 
nent i-self. "The science communities 
and politicians in Buenos Aires arc' 
_ondcn anc Washington — tney twist 
their hankies and agonize dai'y o\;e' 
the conflicts between science and poli- 
tics" explains Schornak. "But all that 
~el:s away once you get down here. 
All these peop.e know they are very 
boated a;"d dependent on sacn otner 
should something happen. And every- 

Ai one ="oo. the base staff has set 
up a little souvenir iabe with T-shirts, 
patches, and pins for sale, it has the 
look and feel of a kid's lemonade 
stanc. orly tne gooes are a lide "-ore 
eabcate a-d 'he crises slight y higher, 
A: anctner s:a:ion, I am invitee :n for 
coffee, cock es and orange soda— this 
time, f r ee of charge. There : s a loose 
camarace'e in Antarctica: Everywhere 
we gc. peooe seem geruiney happy 
to see us. As ore nomesick -orioarche' 
tolo me "Th s s still a par: of tie wond 
where a row face s a we come sigh. : 

Al Alrmrante Brown, a '-odesl lr. e 

64 OMNI 

Jbtction by le 

>y JLerry, jpisson **> 

Illustration by. Uaniel J%del 


"Ailrepeat after me," Pig 
Gnat said. "Oh Secret 
and Awesome Lost Wil- 
derness Shrined 

"Oh Secret and Awe- 
gome Lost Wilderness 

'The Key to Oz and 
Always be Thine." 
■ "Trie-Key (oOz and 
Always be 'Thine." 

"Bee-Wen. Now cover 

"Rockr. - 

"First the reck and 
then some teayes," 

"We'll never findjt 

"When we need to, we 
wilt. 1 made a map. See? 
But hurry, i think if s late." 

Itwastate. While 
Nation arranged the rocks 
and leaves, and Pig 
Gnat carefully folded the 
map-, Bifly Joe 
scrambled to the top of 
the culvert- Across 
the corn stubble, in the 
subdivision on the 
other side of the highway, 

a few-early lights 
gleamed. Among them, 
Mrs. Pignatelii's. ■ 

"I see a light," said Billy 
Joe. "Doesn't that 
mean your mother's -home? 
Maybe we should 
cut across the fieid." 

"You know better 
than that," Pig Gnat said. 
"He who comes by 
the trail must leave by 
thetrail." ■ 

Jpilly Hoe led the way. I ig (jrnat was in the middle. 

fixation, who owned and there/ore carried the gun (a Daisy pump), 

brought up the rear, alert ior game, lor danger. 

Billy Joe and Nation both grumbled, 
but agreed. They were at the fabled 
head of the Tibetan Nile. The trail 
T' 'owed the muddy stream away from 
the highway and the houses on the 
other side, down the culvert, along the 
steep side of what became (if you 
squinted; and they squinted) a 
thousand-foot-deep gorge, Where the 
gorge was narrowed by a junked car 
fa Ford), the trail crossed the Niie on a 
perilous high bridge of side-by-side 
two-by-fours. It then left the stream 
{which only ran after a rain) and 
crossco :ho o'comsage-ccvered Gobi- 
Serengeti toward the distant treeline. 

Billy Joe led the way. Pig Gnat, who 
had moved to Middletown from 
Columbus only a year ago, was in the 
middle. Nation, who owned and 
therefore carried the gun (a Daisy 
pump), brought up the rear, alert for 
game, for danger. "Hold!" he said. 

The three boys froze in the dying 
light. A giant grasshopper stood 
poised on top of a fence pest. Nation 
took aim and fired. The great beast fell, 
cut almost in half along its abdomen, 
its legs kicking in dumb agony. 

Nation recocked the Daisy, while 
Billy Joe. put the beast out of its misery, 
Like rogue tigers, these magn J iceri 
man-killers had to die. "Good 
snooi ng," Billy Joe said. 

"Luck," said Nation. 

The desert ended; the trail tunneled 
through a narrow tangle of brush and 
old tires, then looped through the Arden 
Forest, a dark wood of scrub locust 
and sassafras, then switchbacked 
down a steep Clay bank to the gravel 
road that led back to the highway. 

"Tell me the name of the cliff again," 
said Billy Joe as they started down. 

"Annapurna," said Pig Gnat. 

They single-filed it in silence. One 
slip meant "death," 

It was dark when they said their 
goodbyes at the highway's edge. Pig 
Gnat ran to find his mother, home from 

68 OMNI 

her job as IV cldle:owVs lib'ariar, J ixinc 
supper and expecting him to keep her 
company. Billy Joe hurried home but to 
no avail, his iatner was already drunk, his 
mother was already crying, and the twins 
were already screaking. Na:ion took his 
time. Each identical house on his street 
was lighted, He often felt he could 
choose one at random and find his 
dinner on the table, his family hurrying 
to finish in time to watch "Hit Parade." 

They grew apart as they grew up. 
Billy Joe started running with a fast 
crowd in high school, and would have 
spent a night or two in jail if his father 
hadn't been a cop. Nation became a 
football star, got the Homecoming 
Queen pregnant, and married her a 
month after graduation. Pignatelli got 
into Antioch where his ex-father (as he 
called him) had been a professor, and 
lasted two years before the antiwar 
movement and LSD arrived on campus 
the same semester, 

The Sixties ran through America like 
a stream too broad to jump and too deep 
to wade, and it wasn't until their tenth 
high school reunion, in 1976, that all 
ih'oo were in Middletown at the same 
time (that they knew of), Nation's wife, 
Ruth Ann, had organized the reunion, 
She was still the Homecoming Queen. 

"Remember the trail to the Lost 
Wilderness Shrine?" Billy Joe asked. 
He wa'j d';.,rk. Like r ^is lathe', he was a 

law-man (as he liked to say) but an 
attorney instead of a cop. "Of course. I 
made a map," said Pignatelli, He had 
returned to the reunion from New York, 
where his first play was about to be 
produced off- off-off- Broad way, and he 
was hurt that no one had asked about 
it. "What're you two talking about?" 
Nation asked, He and Ruth Ann had 
just sat down. Pig Gnat whispered, 
"Come with me." They left the girls at 
the table and slipped out the side door 
of the gym, Across the practice field, 
across the highway, where the corn- 
field used to be, shopping center lights 
gleamed under a cold moon; beyond 
were endless coils of night, The door 
clicked shut behind them, and with the 
music gone, they imagined the narrow 
traij, the dark between the trees, the 
high passes to .the secret Shrine, and 
they shivered. "We're supposed to 
stick to high school memories," Nation 
said, Billy Joe tried the door but it was 
locked. He was suddenly sober, The 
Homecoming Queen leaned on the 
bar, opening the door from the inside. 
"What are you guys doing?" 

"BJ, it's time to go home," said Billy 
Joe's wife, a Louisville girl. 

Two years later Pignatelli gave up 
playwriting (or set it aside) and took a 
job at Creative Talent Management's 
New York office on 57th Street. That 
October he came back to Mido : e:cwn 
for his mother's sixtieth birthday. He 
stopped by Nation Ford and was 
surprised to find his friend already 
going bald. He was under a car, an 
unusual position for Assistant Manager 
of a dealership, "Dad and Ruth Ann run 
the business end," Nation explained, 
he washed up and they found Billy Joe 
at the courthouse, and drove to 
Lexington where Pignatelli's ponytail 
didn't raise so many eyebrows. Billy 
Joe had hired a friend to handle his 
divorce. "It's like a doctor never 
operating on himself," he said, "We 
should go camping sometime," Nation 

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Two years later, they did. CTM was 
sending Pignatelli io LA twice a year, 
and he arranged an overnight stop in 
Louisville. Billy Joe met him at the air- 
port with two borrows c sleepirc sags 
and a tent, and they met Nat on helfway 
between Louisville and Middletown, 
and hiked back into the low steep hills 
along Otter Creek. It was October. Billy 
Joe gathered wood while Pig Gnat built 
a fire, "Did you ever think we'd be 
thirty?" Nation asked. In fact they were 
thirty-two, but still felt (at least when 
they were together) like boys; that is, 
immortal. Pig Gnat stirred the fire, 
sending sparks to join the stars in 
heaven. They agreed to never get old. 

Two years later, again in October, 
they met at the airport in Lexington and 
drove east, into the low-tangled folds of 
the Cumberland Mountains, and built 
their fire under a cliff in the Red River 
Gorge. Nation's twin daughters had just 
ceietra:ed their "Swse; S'xteen," Pig- 
natelli was dating a starlet whose face 
■was often in ihe super~a'ket tabs, be- 
ginning to wonder if he was supposed 
to have kids. 

The next October, they backpacked 
into the gorges of the Great South Fork 
of the Cumberland River, almost on the 
Tennessee iine. These were real moun- 

tains; small, but deep. At night the 
s'a's were like ice crystals, "and just as 
permanent," Pig Gnat pointed out. 
They stayed two nights, Billy Joe's 
'awyer had marriec his ex, moved into 
the house she had won in the settle- 
ment, and was raising his son. 

They met every October after that. 
BJ would pick up Pignatelli at the 
Louisville airport, and Nation would 
meet them in the mountains. They ex- 
plored up and down the Big South 
Fork, through Billy Joe's second mar- 
riage, Pignatelli's move to LA, and Na- 
tion's divorce. The Homecoming 
Queen kept the house on Coffee Tree 
Lane. They settled into a routine, just 
like the old days, with Nation picking 
out the site, Billy Joe gathering the 
wood, Pig Gnat building the fire. They 
skipped their twentieth high school re- 
union; their friendship had skipped 
high school anyway. 

The year they turned forty It rained, 
and they camped at the mouth of a 
shallow, dry cave where they could 
look up at a sky half stone, half stars, 
"How old do you want to get?" Nation 
asked. Fifty seemed as old to them as 
forty once had seemed. Funny how 
time stretched out, long in front, short 
behind. Nation's girls were both mar- 
ried, and he would be a grandfather 

soon, BJ did :ne paperwork on nis sec- 
ond divorce himself. The year Pig- 
natelli's mother died, he found a 
hand-colored map in a drawer when he 
cleaned out the house. He knew what w 
was without unfolding it. he look il bcc< 
to California with him in a plastic bag. 

Some Octobers they tried other 
mountains, but they always came 
home. The Adirondacks seemed bar- 
ren compared to the close, dark tan- 
gles of the Cumberlands. The Reekie;, 
were spectacular but the scale was all 
wrong. We're too old to want to see that 
far, Pig Gnat said. He was only half kid- 
ding. He was forty-six, There are no 
long views in ihe Cumberlands, There 
are high cliffs overlooking deep 
gorges, each gorge as like the criers 
as trees or years are alike. The stars 
wheel through ihe sky like slow spars. 
Sometimes it felt that in all the universe 
only the three of them were still; every- 
thing else was spinning apart. "This is 
reality," Pig Gnat explained, poking the 
fire, "The rest of the year just rises up 
from it like smoke." 

When Nation's father died he found 
the Daisy, filmed with rust and missing 
ts -"sgazine, in the attic. He cleanse I 
up and left it in Ruth Ann's garage.. She 
had come back to run Nation Ford: she 
owned half oi it anyway. "Still ihe 

Homecoming Queen." Nation latgned. 
they were better as friends than as- 
man and wife. How Pignatelli envied 
them. They were camped that year 
among the sycamores in a nameless 
bend of No Business Creek. "How old 
do you guys want to get?" Billy Joe 
as'.en. li was becom.'ng like a joke. No- 
body wants to get old, yet every year 
they get older. 

The year 2000 found them walking 
the ridge that leads north and east 
from Cumberland Gap like a road in 
the sky. while the wind ripped the 
leaves from the trees all around them. 
Two thousand! I! was the coldest Octo- 
ber in years. They slept in a dry cave 
floored with dust like the moon, where 
footprints would last a .thousand 
years — or at least forever. Life was still 
sweet. Billy Joe married again. Nation 
moved back in with Ruth Ann. It was 
not yet time. 

Somewhere there are pictures that 
show how they looked alike in the be- 
ginning, in that way that all boys look 
alike. Later pictures would show how 
they diverged: BJ in blue suits and ties; 
Pignatelli in silk sport coats and hun- 
dred-dollar jeans; Nation in coveralls 
and gimme hats. Some fifty years later 
they looked alike again, s'ttirg or the 
edge of a limestone cliff high over the 
Big Sandy River, thin in the hair and 
gelinc; :hick in the middle. That was 'heir 
l.-.K" October. One week after Christmas. 
Nation died. It was very sudden. Pig- 
natelli hadn't even known he was sick, 
then he got the call from Ruth Ann. It 
was a heart attack. He was almcsl liiy- 
nine. How old do you want to get? 

Pig Gnat took out the map, which he 
kept in his office, but didn't unfold it. He 
had the feeling he could only unfold it 
once. Billy Joe and his young wife 
picked him up at the Louisville airport, 
and they drove straight to Middfetown 
for the funeral. Billy Joe was angry; his 
wife seemed apologetic. After the bur- 
ial there was a reception at the house 
on Coffee Tree Lane. Pignatelli went out 
to the garage and two little girls fol- 
lowed him; all Nation's grandchildren 
were girls. He spread out the map on 
the workbench, and sure enough, the 
old paper cracked along the folds. He 
found the Daisy under the bench, dark 
with rust and smelling of WD-40. The 
girls helped him look but he couldn't 
find the magazine or any BBs. 

Back in the house, he kissed Ruth 
Ann goodbye. He wondered, as he 
had often wondered, if he would have 
married if he could have married the 
Homecoming Queen, Almost all the 
mourners had left. Billy Joe was drunk, 
and still sulking. "We waited too god- 
damn long!" he whispered. Big Gnat 



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Happiness is something we make happen, says the Doctor of Flow. 
And here's how you can heighten that experience. 


A first there was only the blank page, the mind filled 
with anxiety. But I am well into it now — thoughts 
coming in the right words, building a story that is a joy for 
me to write. Whether anyone else will enjoy reading it 
doesn't matter now. There is nothing I'd rather be doing. 
I'm not hungry or thirsty and have lost all track of time. 
There is only the thing itself. I am in flow. 

Flow — this- enviable state of optimal experience, where 
the challenge is high, but not beyond the skills brought to 

bear, is the domain of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pro- 
nounced CHICK-sent-me-high-ee; friends call him 
"Mike"). A Hungarian-born polymath and professor of 
psychology and education at the University of Chicago, 
Cs -fszenfcnihalyi has pondered the meaning of happi- 
ness since his childhood In wartime Europe. His books, 
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, and its se- 
quel, The Evolving Self, are popular explanations of the 
theory he's been developing for two decades. 


Indeed, Csikszentmihalyi has 
Stepped in where other psychologists 
have feared to tread, focusing on the 
best moments of life— joy. creativity — 
rather than on the unconscious or loss, 
suffering, and neurosis. The focus on 
enjoyment is relatively novel in psy- 
chology, but the field may be ready to 
recognize the importance of normal 
states of mind. And if distressed people 
can learn to better experience flow, they 
may be able to quell their unhappiness. 

Aristotle wrote that people seek 
happiness more than anything else. 
But after 2,300 years, most of us are 
still seeking and still unhappy much of 
the time', Why? In the psychoanay'ic 
view, happiness is the pale shadow of 
dark desire. Since we rarely indulge 
our sexual drives, we find acceptable 
substitutes, practicing "sublimation." 
Anyone who enjoys mountain climbing, 
a psychoanalytic explanation holds, is 
merely exhibiting a sublimated penis 
envy. A game of chess allows players 
to cope with their castration anxiety. 

"Nobody seems to do anything ac- 
cording to this point of view," 
Gs&SZStttmlhalyl complains, "except to 
resolve a festering childhood anxiety." 
But to him, "Life is shaped as much by 
the future as by the past." In his sce- 
nario, happiness is there for the asking. 
"The best moments usually occur when 
a person's body or mind is stretched to 
its limits in a voluntary effort to accom- 
plish something difficult and worth- 
while," he writes. "Optimal experience 
is thus something we make happen." 

Those "best moments" are no; lim- 
ited to leisure or even good times, he 
argues, since "people who have survived 
concentration camps or lived through 
near-fatal physical dangers often recall 
that in the midst of their ordeal, they ex- 
perienced extraordinarily rich epipha- _ 
nies in response to such simple events 
as hearing the song of a bird in the forest, completing a hard 
task, or sharing a crust of bread with a friend." 

Csikszentmihalyi grew up in Italy — Fiume (later Yu- 
goslavia, now Croatia), Venice, and Rome — where his father 
became head of the Hungarian diplomatic mission. What his 
father really liked to do, Csikszentmihalyi recalls, "was run 
around antique stores all over Europe and find paintings 
which he then restored." So it was no accident that Csik- 
szentmihalyi developed an interest in art, becoming an ac- 
complished painter before age 22 when he left Europe to 
study at the University of Illinois. As a boy he spoke Hungar- 
ian with his family, German with his nanny, and Italian with 
friends. He flunked English in high school, but eventually 
learned it by following Walt Kelly's Pogo cartoons in a news- 

74 OMNI 

paper for American servicemen. Finish- 
ing his studies in psychology at the 
University of Chicago, from 1965 to 
1970 he taught psychology and sociol- 
ogy at Lake Forest College in Illinois. In 
1970 he was drawn back to tne Univer- 
sity of Chicago and the opportunities it 
offered for long-term projects. 

Today at 59, Csikszentmihalyi is 
doing what he likes best. None of the 
myriad ways his theories have been 
used in real-life situations please him 
nearly so much as a good theoretical 
go-round with colleagues and grad 
students who share with him a sprawl- 
ing sei es of ancient, unglamorous of- 
fices. Only the computer equipment 
and the baby's crib and playpen for 
the married students' children attest to 
the modernity of the ideas born here. 

During our talks I told Mike that after 
reading Flow, I looked at my activities 
to see which produced flow. Now I set 
aside time for some of them, whereas 
before I'd say, "I'm too busy." Now I 
feel it's important to my emotional- 
health to have this experience as often 
as possible. 

"That's interesting," he mused. 
"Someone else might have diagnosed 
what produces flow and then said, 
'Okay, I'm just going to do the one 
thing that's most enjoyable and forget 
about everything else.' Another could 
say, 'I feel so good in this activity I want 
to transform all my other activities to 
make them feel like this.' Each person 
needs ic take control of this issue and 
make of it whatever he or she will." 

— Dava Sobel 

Omni: How did you come to make a 
formal study of happiness? 
Csikszentmihalyi: When I was 15 or 16 
and by chance in Switzerland, I heard 
a talk by Cart Jung about the mass 
delusion Europe had suffered during 
the war. That struck me, because as a child in the war, I'd 
seen something drastically wrong with how adults — the 
grown-ups I trusted— organized their thinking. I was trying to 
find a better system to order my life. Jung seemed to be try- 
ing to cope with some of the more positive aspects of 
human experience. 

After hearing Jung I read all his books I could find; then 
Freud and other psychologists to see what they had to say 
about a good life. There wasn't much. Finally I came to this 
country, because in Europe there was no program in psy- 
chology. I quickly discovered that most psychology here in- 
volved rats and pathology. Luckily I eventually founo a 
mentor at the University of Chicago, Jacob Getzels, who 
was interestedin creativity. We worked out a proposal for my 

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■:iiL-&e-t:a:ior en oreakv ly among a.'tis:s. 
I tried to look at artists' cognitive 
processes— how they formulate a 
problem, decide what they want to 
paint. But the more I observed these 
artists, the more I saw that the really in- 
teresting question was iv/iythis activity 
was so terribly enjoyable to them that 
they would get completely carried 
away in it. Again, very little in psychol- 
ogy shed light on that. Most psycholo- 
gists would've interpreted "the 
phenomenon in terms oi defense 
mechanisms or compensation — subli- 
mation at best. None reckoned with the 
positive joy artists experience when 
creating. So my dissertation explored 
ways of expressing this in a thecetical 
conception, Next, I began to study oth- 
ers who did things for which they got 
no external rewards. 
Omni: Originally you looked at enjoy- 
ment in terms of creativity alone? 
Csikszentmihalyi: Right, But in observ- 
ng how supposedly creative people 
go about setting up a problem and 
solving it, 1 noticed the tremendous emo- 
tional involvement, even ecstasy, they 
seemed to experience, At the time I saw 
the exhilaration as a means to an end, 
something that kept them pursuing the 
activity. But then I became interested in 
the feeling itself as an end product. 
What really counts is how you fee/, not 
what you accomplish, When I thought 
about it that way, I had to know more 
about it. In the early Seventies, the 
Public Health Service funded my three- 
year project to study enjoyment in work 
arc play, including people on assem- 
bly lines. I developed a new method to 
systematically study the quality of ex- 
perience. My students and I collected 
fascinating on-the-spot data on peo- 
ple's feelings throughout the day. 
Our subjects wore electronic pagers, 

d we could signal them at random 
times. At the beep, the participants 
filled out a questionnaire about where 
they were, what they were doing, who 
was with them, how they felt, how hard 
they were concentrating, how challeng- 
ing the activity was, and how well they 
were meeting the challenge. This "ex- 
perience sampling method" became 
so rich in results that for almost eight 
years I didn't study flow directly. Many 

" our subjects had been teenager-;, 
and Reed Larson and I wrote a book 
about them called Being Adolescent. 

In 1973 or 1974, the term flow grew. 
It came out of listening to people de- 
scribing how it felt when what they 
were doing was going well. Over and 
over we heard: "Oh, it was like being in 
a flow, being carried away by what I 
was doing. It was very complex,, yet 
seemed effortless." Originally we 

called ihst ire "autotefc exoer ence/ 
meaning an experience whose goal 
was simply to be itself. But the term 
seemed stuffy, pretentious, too much 
like scholarly jargon. One student said, 
"Why don't you call it flow?" Sometimes 
I regret calling it that, because "going 
with the flow" sounds like something 
out of the Sixties from California — too 
relaxed and undisciplined, which the 
experience is not. So we are caught 
between this Scylla and Charybdis of 
being too professional and too popular. 
Omni: Can you remember your own 
first flow experience? 
Csikszentmihalyi: It was toward the end 
of the war, in 1944. Many relatives and 
friends in Budapest had been killed. 
One of my brothers died in combat, 
and another had been taken prisoner 
by the Russians and sent to a forced 
labor camp in Siberia. I discovered 
ciass was a miraculous way of enter- 
ing into a different world where all 
those things didn't matter. For hours I'd 
just focus within a reality that had clear 
rules and goals. If you knew what to 
do, you could-survive there. No other 
kids my age were around, so I played 
against colleagues of my father in the 
diplomatic corps. I usually beat them, 
which was a great boost. 

When I was 14 or 15, mountain 
climbing became a source of flow. 
Then painting and writing. There were 
minor ones all the time, but those four 
allowed me to get really involved Thsy 
are difficult in the beginning. With 
climbing you have to get up at two or 
three in the morning and walk for a few 
hours in the cold until you get to the 
rock face. But once you get involved, 
it's a different world. You can keep it up 
for hours — with no sense of time pass- 
ing. The same is true of almost any of 
inese activities. 

Omni: Does the element of risk 
heighten the experience of flow? 
Csikszentmihalyi: Some flow experi- 
ences involve low danger, like reading 
a good book. But certain people are 
c sposed to respond to risk, and their 
flow will depend on it more than some- 
body else's. Danger is the hook. But 
their descriptions are not that different 
from, say, a Thai woman's description 
of weaving a rug. The quality of con- 
centration, forgetfulness, involvement, 
control are similar. 

Omni: Are there physiological indica- 
tions of flow? 

Csikszentmihalyi: Years ago, I started 
looking at EEGs, galvanic skin re- 
sponse, brain waves, and heart rates. 
At that time you couldn't get people 
into realistic situations to measure iheir 
phys.clog cal responses. I came clos- 
est with chess players, because they 

are sedentary when ihey play. But most 
EEG studies are not worth the paper 
they're printed on. The best EEG man 1 
know doesn't touch any EEG data ex- 
cept from people who are asleep. 

Last year I started trying again with 
new imaging machines. We selected 
40 high school kids, 20 of whom had 
many flow experiences and 20 who 
didn't. We monitored their evoked po- 
tentials in a standard learning situation 
where they responded to questions 
presented on a computer screen. Jean 
Hamilton, a psychiatrist and former stu- 
dent, measured cortical activity in peo- 
ple solving problems and found that 
ones who had many flow experiences 
spend much less effort on the task. 
When we tried to replicate her experi- 
ments, we found kids who reported 
flow more frequently performed better 
in the test situation with much less cor- 
tical activity, were less aroused by the 
tasks, or spent less mental effort re- 
sponding to the stimuli. When we 
asked them to rate their subjective 
states, those often in flow turned out to 
feel much less self-conscious in the 
test situation. 

Kids who don't flow make a greater 
mental effort because they not only re- 
spond to the problem on the screen, 
but also monitor themselves and won- 
der, "Will I do right? What does the ex-. 
perimenter think?" Their self-con- 
sciousness puts an extra burden on 
their mental effort. Marlin Hoover, one 
of my students, wired people with a 
heart monitor, and for five minutes be- 
fore we beeped them, we recorded 
heart rate without the person knowing 
it. We compared their heart rates be- 
fore they knew they were going to re- 
port with what they wrote down. 
Clearly, the self-report is neatly tuned in 
to the physiological process. But we 
found large individual differences. 
Omni: Do students report flow because 
you've explained the concept to them? 
Csikszentmihalyl: No. In general, peo- 
ple in our studies are not aware of the 
concept or word. Our information 
comes from their self-reports when the 
beeper sounds. The self-report then 
asks them how they feel about what 
they're doing, to rate the challenges of 
he activity and their skills in it from low 
to high. [Points to data chart.] This stu- 
dent rates her skill in some activity al- 
most twice as high as the challenge. 
Omni: What does that mean? 
Csikszentmihalyi: She's bored. Over a 
week we establish the average level of 
skill and challenge for a person. These 
estimates would be the midpoint on a 
graph where the horizontal axis is chal- 
lenge and the vertical axis is sKill. It she 
repprts an activity where both chal- 

lenge and skill are high, we call that a 
:iow experence. This student reports 
high-challenge, high-skill once when 
she's singing, once studying, once 
playing tennis, and twice while reading. 
Omni: What's happening to her on the 
graph outside the flow sector? 
Csikszentmihalyi: Here she fights three 
times with -kids in school — encounters 
she rates as high-challenge, low-skill, 
That's anxiety. Other times the beeper 
found her talking, preparing for a quiz, 
reading comics, eating — all of which 
she judges high-skill, low-challenge. 
Boredom. She watches TV only three 
times and rates that the same as being 
in the bathroom: low-challenge, low- 
skill, And that's apathy. Some people 
are never in flow. They are either always 
anxious or always bored. They're always 
out of whack. This particular kid has an 
more: nately high number of flow experi- 
ences. Then you look at what she's doing: 
singing, siudying, computer, tennis. 
Omni: What are some other states? 
Csikszentmihalyi: In arousal, there's a 
little more challenge than skill. In con- 
trol, you have fairly high skills, higher 
than your challenges, but not by much, 
so a person feels essentially in control 
of the situation, but not in flow. In these 
graphs of adults, we're comparing flow, 
anxiety, boredom, apathy— whatever 
channel they happen to be in, with self- 
reports of how motivated, active,' con- 
centrated, creative, satisfied, and 
happy they feel. 

You can see when they're anxious 
that they feel active and concentrated, 
but their motivation and satisfaction are 
low. In boredom everything is very low 
but affect, meaning that even though 
they're bored, they're fairly happy. Look 
ai apa'hy. People are usua' : y in apathy 
when they watch TV or shoot the 
breeze with peers. They don't concen- 
trate, feel active, creative, happy, or 
even satisfied. But they still want to do 
whatever they're doing. This is the 
paradox of apathy: it's a really negative 
state in many ways, yet people tend to 
gravitate to it. 

When teenagers engage in sports 
and games, they're in arousal 30 per- 
cent and in flow 35 percent of the time. 
You find almost no boredom, relax- 
ation, apathy, and little anxiety. Com- 
pare that with TV-watching: no arousal, 
practically no flow, no control; 40 per- 
cent boredom, 10 percent relaxation, 
30 percent apathy. Completely different 
profiles. Then you look at how much 
time they spend doing these things, 
and it's ten to one TV-watching. So we 
asked them why they do it. They say 
things ike: "Coming home from school, 
I know I'll feel better when I go biking 
or play basketball, but it takes time to 




Review by Andrew Wheeler 
I have to admit it: I 
didn't like the first 
Lackey book I 
read. Winds of 
Fate just lost me. 
There were 
women with tele- 
pathic horses, 
men with telepathic hawks, talking 
swords, and so on and so on. It 
seemed like every big fantasy novel 
I'd ever read. But when I dropped 
back to read the earlier books, I 
began to understand and enjoy 
Lackey's world of Valdemar. I started 
looking forward to each new book, 
and this one is no exception. 

It begins a new trilogy, the 
"Mage Storms," just as Winds of 
Fate began "Mage Winds." But this 
book is far more friendly to the first- 
time Valdemar visitor, so I think 
Lackey is going to pick up new read- 
ers—scared off before by so much 
history, so many books— to join her 
legion of fans. Storm Warning is 
better for the first-timer because it 
follows Karal, a young courtier from 
Karse. Until recently, his country and 
Valdemar were at war, and he still 
thinks of the Heralds and their 
Companions (the telepathic horses) 
as "white demons." So we see every- 
thing in Valdemar through fresh 
eyes — and that's a good thing, be- 
cause the baggage (physical and 
emotional) of the characters, and the 
sheer number of important people, is 
adding up. 

Low-key Lackey is much more to 
my taste than nail-biting Lackey; she 
does suspense and action well, but 
then, so does every other major 
fantasy writer. Lackey's different 
because when she writes about lan- 
guage lessons and cultural shock it's 
just as interesting as battles and 
intrigues. That's really soTcth ng 
special. I know there wll be action 
and clenched teeth coming up later 
in the trilogy; but for now, I'm racpy 
just to be with her characters white 
they get to know each other 

Storm Warning is available in 
better bookshops and from The 
Science Fiction Book Club on p. 21 , 



1 their new instruction manual, firefighters are briefed on the art 

and science of UFOs 

11 only makes sense that 
civilian emergency per- 


— 1 


— 1 

sonnel from police to 



firefighters may be called 

* 4 

..A. Ja| 

to the scene of a close 

v -it 



encounter, real or not. 

f / ft 



But despite their role on 

' f ^ 



the front lines of virtually 
any emergency, our 


w ! 

srs" have never been 
given any kind of back- 


ground on the UFO phe- 


For a detailed briefing 
->v\ the topic, all profes- 
sional rescuers need do 

| I 

s refer to the new, second 

Charles W. Bahme, a former Los Angeles Fire d 

' -"-lUFOsfor Theguid 

, ,. : _ ,,-.... w„. .was ignited al, 

August 26, 1942 during the famous "L.A. Air Raid." ing. Near 

;ws bulletins announced an enemy pressed tf 

e, then a young Navy fireman, the closet, and many I 

>r public officials before." 



anthropologist sug- 
;st that observing tt 
usive critters may 

not be a hit-or-miss affair: 
, says Yasusni 

Tokyo, your 
; of bearing wit- 

When K 
ied the schedule for 

in Vermont, for in- 

cted to 
; reports dur- 
I ing the height of the day, 

j. "Sightings 
! increase after about 

in 7:00 and 8:00 
p.m., just before sunse 
at Lake Champlain in 
summer," Kojo writes ir 
the journal Crypto- 
zoology. "The steady ir 
i of sightings 

One skeptic is chemist 
Henry Bauer of Vir- 
ginia Polytechnic Institute 

■ of the Enigma of 

for Kojo's findings, \ 

Bauer says the tim- % 

ing of the reports 
might well be due to faff 
jves. While lakes 

stronger late in the d 
increasing the height 

If this were true, coun- 
n other 
lake monsters, like Nes- 
sie, should show up 
on a similar timetable. But, 
: ■ - -"~9 Scottish 

morning between 10:00 
-nd 11:00, or in the 
. .lid-afternoon between 
3:00 and 4:00. To Ko- 
jo, this n 
ever inhabits Loch 
Ness is not nocturnal like 
Champ and may actu- 
ally be a different species. 
Yet another expert, bio- 
chemist Roy Mackal, 
formerly of th 

he Monsters 
'Jess, takes 
issue with this as well. Ko- 
jo's findings, notes 

ight suggest 
..lore about the cul- 
tural patterns of the lake 

lout the inner fives of the 
1 1 .onsters themselves. 
i Again, Kojo disagrees. 
% "Based on my cur- 
sory observations of 
the people," he 
states, "I'm skeptical 

that there are signif- 

future medical break- 
"■ughs and eventual r 


cago and Charles Piatt 

legally, but against I 
wishes — in Al|,nr ' c «* 

............ i-profit, will lake 

: the legal responsibility 

re not going to let thu 
jmbers build up again 





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touch your butt?" Probably don't have 

butts anyway, poor misshapen geeks . . . 

I'm sorry, what was the question 

Waiter J. Hickel 
Governor, Alaska 

In 1936. I graduated from high 
school in Claflin, Kansas. I remember 
ou' teacher telling our graduating class 
that within our lifetime, man would walk 
on the moon. Now Claflin, Kansas, 
which is populated by German 
Catholics was a ve;y relic ous commu- 
nity, and any talk of man going to the 
moon — God's moon — was not warmly 
received. But I could picture it in my 
mind. I saw it as clear as a bell, and 
knew it would happen. 

Thirty yea; s later, as Secetary of the 
Interior, I stood at Cape Kennedy and 
watched as Apollo 11 lifted off, des- 
tined for the moon, 

Since that time, I have been privi- 
leged to sit on the National Space 
Board, where the focus of our mission 
was to design the first manned colony 
on the moon. 

I have always believed that mankind 
should stop warring and, instead, 
channel our energies into pioneering 
pro eels ilia: scve :he progress of civi- 
lization. Whether that civilization is 
within a region, or across international 
boundaries, or interplanetary, is not 
what's important. 

My message to such a delegation of 
extraterrestrials would be; "We wel- 
come you in peace, We have much to 
learn, and much to teach." 

Arthur Miller 

"Go back! Go back! You can get 
killed here!" 

Edward G. Rendell 
Mayor, Philadelphia 

After a quick hello, I'd ask them if 
they had a cure for AIDS, unemploy- 
ment, crime, drugs, hopelessness, and 
the breakdown of the family. 

Hope springs eternal! 

Steve Allen 

■Mnxer and coi^eo 'ten 

To Our Visitors: 

We have translated the key part of 
your recent message as, "We are peace- 
ful, and we're dropping by for a visit." 

If ours were a largely rational uni- 
verse, your statement could be taken 
at face value. But our own judgment, 
on Planet Earth, must inevitably be 

conditioned by cng cer Lines o : expe 
rience, and it has been our finding that 
such protestations, when made by 
Earthlings, have often been lies. If you 
are indeed peaceful you are unlikely to 
consider us warlike. This is not be- 
cause of any innate desency on our 
part but rather because we fear you, 
and this largely because we kiwii 
practically nothing about you. 

We assume that because you have 
managed to reach our part of space, 
you far exceed our own competence in 
matters scientific. This, in turn, suggests 
that your intelligence is superior to our 
own. Unfortunately, there has been no 
necessary connection, at least on our 
planet, between intelligence and virtue, 
so as regards your either short-term or 
ultimate intentions, we can do little 
more, for the present, than hope for the 
best. But I must issue a warning, and it 
is one that I hope you will take sen- 
ously. In saying this I intend no threat; I 
do not warn against acting on such ag- 
gressive tendencies as you might har- 
bor but rather of our own long 
habituation to the most bloodthirsty be- 
havior. There is scarcely a page of our 
history that is not stained with blood. 

Secondly you should be aware, for 
your own protection, that of all the hun- 
dreds of thousands of living creatures 
you will find on our planet, we humans 
are', beyond the slightest question, the 
most dangerous. It is true that there are 
other creatures that can inflict harm, 
but they do so purely in Self-defense •::,•■ 
n accordance with their own nature, to 
satisfy their hunger. That fearful crea- 
ture known among humans as the 
man-eating shark, for example, knows 
nothing of the human emotion of vi- 
do.isness. He is simply dangerous to 
other creatures when he is hungry. The 
aggression of animals, therefore, is en- 
tirely understandable. Tne more omi- 
nous aggression of humans has a 
large component of irrationality to it. 
You will not even be able to depend on 
our acting in self-interest, for it that 
were our only concern we would 
scarcely ever have initiated a war. And 
yet wars have not only sporadically 
broken out to separate long periods of 
peace: it has rather been the otner way 
around. War seems to be our natural 
state, times of peace come about be- 
cause of either emotional, physical, or 
economic exhaustion. Except for a few 
of us — who are oiten harshly criti- 
cized — we humans do not seem to 
have any natural aptitude for peace 
whatever, partly, perhaps, because 
peace is a blank, a negative, an ab- 
sence of something, whereas war is 
concrete, deiinite. and active. You will -inc 
that we humans are remarkably gifted 

a: ..„. 111 ; ■ .,: ■■■ i i r. we .T' ;■ umsy 
a~ateurs when maintaining a peace. 

There is a certain amount of grim 
humor, I suppose, in the possibility that, 
although we have traditionally, histori- 
cally been embroiled in tribal rivalries, 
your unexpected coming may serve to 
bring us together by forcing us to real- 
ize that we are, after all, one human 
family, But whether this happy outcome 
results or not, I would suggest that you 
do not long turn your backs on us. 

And yet — such is the mystery of life 
in our peculiar corner of the universe 
that many of us are also capable of the 
most exquisitely tender concern for our 
fellow creatures, an ability to love that 
exienos svor, to vie esser animals. It is 
from this primary, primitive emotion, I 
suspect, that there comes our some- 
times astonishing ability to create 
beauty, whether that attribute takes the 
form of painting, music, sculpture, po- 
etry, drama, or any other art. 

Perhaps the greatest favor you can 
bsestow on js is to share your opinion 
of the purpose of life, for we 
have never known what it is. I_ 
There is no shortage of theo- 
ries, of course, but they are le- 
gion and many are mutually 
exc usive. it is tragic, in fact, 
that some of our most savage 
wars have been among 
groups that differed in regard 
to this one basic question. 
Most of us, in the total ab- 
sence of an ability to explain 
either the physical universe or 
the reason for its existence in 
the first place, simply assume 
that there is some all-powerful spirit 
that has created literally everything. Bui 
even our most intuitive theologians 
have always been at a loss to explain 
why a benevolent deity would create 
poisonous snakes arc spders, deadly 
plants, and billions of bacteria and 
viruses that daily kill millions all over 
our planet. It follows, therefore, that if 
you are in a position to enlighten us on 
such age-old questions, we will be pro- 
foundly grateful. 

Helen Gurley Brown 
Editor, Cosmopolitan 

I don't mean to be too sensible or 
realistic, but I doubt I would be able to 
get anyplace near the peaceful ex- 
traterrestrials who visited Earth. They 
would imrr.edia-.s v be snapped up by 
Hard Copy, Prime Time, 20/20, I. CM., 
Creative Artists and other talent agen- 
cies, Elite and Eileen Ford and other 
modeling agencies, and asked to be 
guests of honor at a dozen fundrais- 
ers .. . how could you get to them? If I 
ever did, I would just say, "Hello, I'm 

8^ OMNI 

glad you finally got here. Are you feel- 
ing jet-lagged, dehydrated, or debili- 
tated in any way from your long trip? 
It's nice to see you." 

George Carl in 

"Get out! Go back! Save your- 
selves! You don't know -what you're get- 
ting into, Prolonged contact with our 
species can only degrade your present 
standards, whatever they are." 

Bernard Shaw 
Principal Anchor, CNN 

I would not assume the delegation 
could speak or understand English. 
Nor would I presume to be Earth's 
spokesman, I would run! 

Brereton C. Jones 
Governor, Kentucky 

I was extremely intrigued by your 
question of how we would welcome an 
exraisrrss:r a. delegation v'siting Earth. 

If a member of the delegation 






stated, "Take me to your leader," I 
could explain that I am the leader of a 
proud group of people known as Ken- 
tuckians. I also would explain that we 
are a peace-loving people, and we are 
n;eres:ed In learning about the other 
beings in the universe. 

In addition, I would want to give them 
two items that I believe would best ex- 
plain who we are as a country. I would 
present to them a copy of the U.S. 
Constitution, and a copy of the Bible. 

The Constitution, I would tell them, 
is the compilation of rules that we as a 
people have chosen to follow. 

The Bible, I would continue, is the 
compilation of rules that our Creator 
has chosen for us to follow. 

I would explain that we do not al- 
ways abide by all of these rules, but 
that we are striving to do so, and that is 
our ultimate goal. 

Then, I would conclude by inviting 
them to stay awhile, and samois some 
of the many advantages Kentucky has 
to offer. They are simply out of this 

Chuck Yeager 

3: : gaaio: GonerpJ itfe;irsds, U.S. Air Farce 
It would depend on who, when, and 
where. In my opinion one cannot pre- 
dict what one would say to a bunch of 
extraterrestrial beings unless we knew 
a few things about the conditions of the 

William Beecher 

Director. Office of Public Affairs for the 

U.S. Nuclear Psgu:a:orv Commission 

My first instinct was a flip response 
"What would you like for lunch?" 

Bui, since you're obviously serious, i 
would ask how we could pu: together 
teams of Gjls:andirc specialists from a 
cross-section of disciplines io explore 
ways of trying to improve.ihe quality of 
life on each planet, based on disparate 
lessors learned in science, medicine, 
history, literature, and the arts. 

Harlan Ellison 

If, by some frenzied desalination 
of our murky gene pool 
~~ between then and now, 
exultantly ridding us of 
our hideous and undying 
xenophobia, I suggest that 
we go out to meet them 
buck naked, our hands 
empty and palms up, ex- 
tended and open. And 
I suggest we say only 
this: "Help us. We are 
very young and we want 
to know." 

Alternately, if we don't 
get the clean-up time, if It 
happens tomorrow or Thursday, then 
there is only one thing we should say to 
v-s'ihg aliens, and it is this: 

"So? You had a nice trip? Are you 
tired, want to wash up, have a biie to 
eat? A nice piece of brisket, maybe; 
some fresh fruit? Sweetheart, you'll 
suck an orange, you'll feel so re- 
freshed! Then we can chat." 

La wren ce Fsri-nghstii 

Who could translate? 

Robin Leach 

Host, Lifestyles of the Rich and 


''Welcome — we hope you find us 
peaceful, too. What took you so long? 
We always believed you were out 
there! Would you like some cham- 
pagne and caviar to celebrate your ar- 
rival? Then we have a million questions 
to ask you; especially, how long have 
you existed and how long have you 
known about us? And did you see 

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1S5 Barry Scee'. San -rancist 



lack of funding. Af a time when Amer- 
ica's waterways are being rapidly de- 
stroyed by illegal dumping, pesticide 
residues, neglect. ar:c excessive sedi- 
mc-r:ation caused by deforestation and 
strip mining, congressional lawmakers 
seem more content to give lip service 
than dollars to projects to reclaim dam- 
aged s :os. Funding has never matched 
the enormity of the problem since a tiny 
team of environment b clogists, affi '- 
ated with the Center of Environmental 
and Hazardous Materials Studies at 
Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, 
first started working to restore compro- 
mised water ecosystems in the late 
1960s. On a shoestring annual budget 
of S1 million, biologists reconstructed 
wetlands and restored natural wildlife 
habitats to a user-friendly state in a 
number of iocales such as Lake Michi- 
gan, bottomland sites in the Mississippi 
drainage region, and the Matxle and 
Santa Cruz rivers. Under the direction 
of Dr. John Cairns, Jr., the team started 
restoration work in the Appalachian 
area in the fall of 1991 to reduce sedi- 
ment runoffs, revive wildlife, and curtail 
damage from flooding. Artificial wet- 

anos are be ig censm.jcied to assis: n 
rebuilding aquatic ecosystems in east- 
ern U.S. forests, luring wildlife back to 
natural habitats. "Our work is to create 
wetlands as a natural Band-Aid to 
damaged ecosystems, very similar- to 
ones naturally created," says Robert 
Atkinson, environmental biolog st at 'toe 
Center. "The restoration of our water- 
ways is in its infancy. We do not have 
much money, so we try -to make sure 
that we scientifically maximize our re- 
sults with careful monitoring of each 
project. More funding will only come 
through increased puolic awareness of 
the severity of the problem." 

In an effort to curb spending and 
maximize efficiency, many researchers 
rely on common-sense approaches lo 
tackling difficult scientific challenges. 
Lester Ehler, for instance, a researChet 
in entomology at the University of Cali- 
fornia at Davis, applies traditional bio- 
looical control methods of insec; pest* 
first used over a century ago, using a 
pests natural enemy to control a species. 
The technique reduces our depen- 
dence on harmful pesticides which 
cause harmful environmental damage 
and long-term hazards to human 
health. Since 1973 on a small university 
budget, Ehler has been experimenting 
with lace-wing larvae, lady beetles, 

soap sprays, and other na:u'al cor:rc ! s 
to rid crops of insect pests. One of his 
long-term projects, backed by sugar 
beet growers, has employed larvae 
anc beetles to control aphids 
themselves on the valuable vegeta- 
bles, drastically cutting -crop loss on 
sugar beets, However, Ehler's work 
may be curtailed by additional cuts in 
California's stale budge: which backs 
much of UC's research. "The savings to 
the consumer and grower can be 
tremendous," says an optimistic Ehler. 
"It's nontoxic and nonpolluting. There is 
no environmental hazard. We don't 
have a problem with pest resistance 
because :he pest cannot evolve a re- 
sistance to its natural enemy." Given 
the. fact that there is genuine concern 
about pesticide residues in food and 
the environment, Ehler adds "anything 
that can be done to cut pesticide use 
is a benefit," 

Researchers clow ansae! with the in- 
tricate work of the Human Genome 
Project, which may cost an esiima:ed 
S3 billion and could take nearly 20 
years to complete, despite funding 
shortages. The dream of reading and 
reorcducng the er.l -e genetic code of 
a human being is becoming reality 
thanks to research initiatives including 
DNA cloning, deciphering of gene se- 
quences, and analysis of chromo- 
somes with sophisticated micrcscooes. 
"The entire genetic search could be 
done in five years." says Glen Evans, a 
molecular biologist at the University Of 
Texas Scuthwes:em Medical Center at 
Dallas, and one of the key players in 
the international genome search. "It 
may take longer because the funds are 
not there." To save money, researchers 
constructed robots to handle some of 
the more tedious work such as intricate 
gene sequencing and time-consuming 
computer functions. Evans credits the 
use of robots with cutting costs "some- 
what," but insists the project needs an 
even greater funding investment to 
reach target goals. 

At its completion, the mecical com- 
munity will possess the ability to con- 
struct a gene map and complete 
genetic information for any human 
being. As V the possib Ity of abuse, 
Evans says researchers rsa.'ze crucial 
ethical questions of access and pri- 
vacy need to be answered before the 
technology becomes widely available, 
and various safeguards to protect 
availability are being studied. 

Nearly 6 percent of the budget is 
geared toward This goal. In fact, Evans 
says, "compiling this gene map will un- 
cover the genes which could uncover 
d seases like cancer, heart disease, 
and mental illness. If we get a cure for 

AIDS, it wi'J come frc" his work ,: Mon- 
itoring and finding cures for AIDS, 
other v'ral diseases, and serious micro- 
bial threats such as Human Parovirus 
B-19, Delta virus, and E. coli disease, 
have also been a part of the ongoing 
mission of the Centers for Disease 
Control (CDC) in Atlanta. Since Amer- 
ica currently spends 14 percent of its 
gross national product on health with 
millions going for treatment methods, 
the CDC is operating on a fresh 
premise: Anticipation and prevention of 
infectious diseases are possible, 
needed, and cost-effective. 

CDC researchers are worried aboji. 
the spread of new strains of polemic y 
fatal organisms such as Hanta Virus 
from the U.S. Southwest and Lassa 
ana i_bois fevers Irom Africa, as well as 
a variety of drug-resistant bacteria, 
working their way into other areas of 
the world because of :oc-olal cnanoes. 
environmental alterations, increased in- 
ternational travel, and widespread 
transfer of foods. Once transplanted, 
bacteria and viruses often exchange 
genetic material or mutate into more 
lethal, infectious forms. "A series of or- 
ganisms has newly emerged or mu- 
tated in the last 20 years, and we must 
be vigilant that they do not spread," 
says Mitchell Cohen, director of the 
CDC's Division of Bacterial and My- 
cotic Diseases. "Some of these dis- 
eases are just a plane ride away. Some 
have emerged within our borders. We 
must design effective prevention and 
control measures. We have had 
enough experience to know that we 
must use our resources to contain the 
spread of microbial invaders. Other- 
wise, we'll have increased illness, 
death, and medical care costs." 

Funding for the CDC's National Cen- 
. ter for Infectious Diseases has re- 
mained relatively stable due to its work 
in monitoring the current Eubercutosis 
(TB) epidemic and AIDS research. The 
agency's ao'e effort in seeking more 
effective- treatments to stem theTB out- 
break comes at a time when most 
states from Maine to Oregon have 
slashed their TB prevention budgets, 
thinking the problem has been eradi- 
cated. In fact, other research areas 
such as heart and lung disease have 
suffered because of the increased inci- 
dence of TB and AIDS, causing some 
researchers to question how some fed- 
eral funds are applied. 

Not only are funding levels remain- 
ing constant in AIDS research, private 
companies are also spending money 
for medical devices. For example, in 
Columbus, Ohio, researchers at Bat- 
telle Institute designed and pertecleo a 
helmet-mounted video display. monitor 

: or surgical procedures. Surgeons can 
use the device when they perform en- 
doscopic operations requiring small in- 
cisions, employing a small monitor 
which provides them with a detailed 
close-up view of the part of the body 
they're operating on. Rather than 
straining to look up at a TV monitor 
overhead, the device is "right there" 
near their faces. All images are in color. 
The helmet, constructed of styrofoam, 
is lightweight and carries a two-pound 
ceL'i;erweight to ensure balance and 
mobility. Much of the funding to Bat- 
telle, the company which gave us the 
technology to make photocopies, 
comes from government health and 
defense agencies and foreign coun- 
tries such as Germany and Switzer- 

land. The company has 48 locations 
globally and a staff of 8,000 working on 
4,900 projects yearly. 

"The helmet has fared well in tests," 
says Jeremy Harris, co-designer with 
Donald Hackman of the 1992 creation. 
Surgeons like the quality of the image 
and the mobility. You can look down 
past the monitor at your hands, and the 
view of the monitor is never blocked. 
Precious seconds are never wasted. 
Every surgeon likes that aspect." 

Money, or the lack of it, is also a 
major issue in research. Funding is- 
sues have complicated the develop- 
ment of the controlled fusion project, 
an energy alternative, currently under- 
way at the Princeton Physics Labora- 
tory, The research seeks to harness the 

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energy source of the stars produced 
by processing deuterium and tritium 
plasma within strong magnetic fields 
while heating it to fusion temperatures. 
Despite a series of triumphs, federal 
funding has fluctuated since the proj- 
ect began in 1951 with a meager 
$40,000 budget, reaching peak levels 
in the 1970s but dropping significant y 
during the Reagan-Bush era. Clinton 
supports the project, which will com- 
plete a key phase of its program this 
fall when it produces a landmark 10 
million watts of energy, enough to light 
up a small town. 

For 1993, Congress appropriated 
about $330 million for the project, 
which should culminate in the con- 
struction of a joint international Ther- 
monuclear Experimental Reactor, 
slated for operation in 2001. Countries 
including the European Community, 
Russia, and Japan are cooperating on 
this project. "This process is cleaner 
and safer than the fission process for 
the nuclear power plants," says Dale 
Meade, deputy director for the labora- 
tory, The long-term project, according 
to Meade, needs consistent funding 
support. "Can you imagine if the 
Japanese and Europeans developed 
fusion, and our fuel resources were de- 
pleted?" he asks. "Should our nuclear 

power plants beco-e oosolete in 50 
years, what will we do? This is a na- 
tional security issue: to remain tops in 
fusion research, We've always as- 
sumed lhat we will hold the edge." 

It is the fear that we will not "hold 
the edge" in international competition 
which propels scientific research. 
Technological advances do translate 
into political and economic power, 
such as our creation of the atomic 
bomb during World War II, as John 
Gibbons, Clinton's science adviser ac- 
knowledges. "This administration is 
placing a heavy bet that the science 
and technology community, given sup- 
port and encouragement, can provide 
one of the principal engines for growth, 
We are developing programs to give 
pre-competitive assistance to technolo- 
gies that promise commercial payoff." 

Critics are skeptical of Clinton's plan 
which allows federal labs to spend up 
to 20 percent of their research budgets 
on partnerships with industry. The key 
program, costing $17 billion over four 
years, offers tax incentives and direci 
funding to foster technology. Clinton 
hopes to bolster technological re- 
search by converting some military re- 
search to civilian purposes, which 
would act as a catalyst for innovations 
in automobiles, biology, aerospace, 

computers, and other fields. He plans 
to give tax credits for industrial re- 
search and development, Some scien- 
tists worry about the mountains of red 
tape generated by such liaisons. Oth- 
ers wonder if Clinton's stress on ap- 
plied research might deemphasize hie 
importance of basic research and the 
pursuit of knowledge. 

Both the White House and the 
American science community know the 
issue of technological superiority is 
crucial to this country's economic and 
political survival. Other countries de- 
vote much .larger portions of their gross 
domestic product (GDP) to civilian re- 
search and development, according to 
current NSF data. Japan, for instance, 
devotes 3 percent, and Germany 2.7 
percent of their respective GDP for 
non-defense related R&D, as com- 
pared to fiscal com mi I mens of only 1.9 
percent for the United States. "This 
country has too many needs to just let 
its research potential go to waste," 
says AAAS' Albert Teich. "So many of 
the global challenges, whether environ- 
mental, health, or economic, involve re- 
search, but not everybody recognizes 
that need. Sustaining our research lev- 
els is essential to America's political, 
economic, and technological future. It's 
as simple as that. "CQ 


Dodge Neon 








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crr.'-rige ana ge: oner kids "cc-elher. 
and I'll have to change my Clothes it's 
just so much easier to turn on the TV." 
Omni: That's scary. Have the beepers 
turned up any other surprises? 
Csikszentmihalyi: It shows how depen-" 
dent we are on some external structure 
to keep our minds, well, flowing. Not 
even in flow, but fust on an even keel. 
Remember in the Sixties many psy- 
ctroloo/lsts did sensory deprivation ex- 
LjerimeiKs. They put you in a dark room 
alone, and your mind started wander- 
ing, and you couldn't control the move- 
ment of your consciousness. We find 
that is also true in everyday life. You 
don't need an isolation tank. All you 
need is to be alone with nothing spe- 
cific to do. Just on the basis of s'a;isi.- 
cal probability, most thoughts that 
come up will be worries. 
Omni: Is this just human nature? 
Csikszentmihalyi: As Gregory Baieson 
put it, for everything that can go right, 
there are 100 things that can go wrong. 
You want a million dollars. Fine. But 
what's the probability of not having a 
million dollars? Much higher, right? And 
the same thing with youth, with love. If 
your mind is going on its own, without 
some control over it, the number of 
-essages tna; say, "You are net 
what you want" will be much greater 
than the positive messages. So you 
have to get either a filter allowing you 
to modify these negative thoughts, or 
you have to focus on something else to 
keep them from coming in. 
Omni: Does -low accomplish ;his? 
Csikszentmihalyi: Yes. I wouldn't say it's 
the primary task, but certainly one of 
the powerful side effects. When you're 
in flow, you don't have to deal with all 
these random thoughts. 
Omni: So wnai's its pr mary i..nc1ion? 
Csikszentmihalyi: I don't really know. 
We feel good about flow because 
somehow, through time and evolution, 
it go? linked to good feelings, just as 
eating and sex did. Maybe flow feels 
good subjectively because it's a good 
way to make sure the species will take 
on higher and higher challenges and 
try to develop skills that match. 
Omni: Don't you think that's kind of a 
teleological argument. 
Csikszentmihalyi: It's not teieolog cal. 
oecause it just means that people who 
couldn't achieve flow would have had 
less chance of survival. It's a random 
coupling of a behavior type with a feel- 
ing, which over time achisvec a greater 
survival or reproductive advantage 
And now we are in a sen 

to want to be in flow. That doesn't ex- 
plain how an individual in flow has a 
sense of complete participation in life 
and full expression of the potenva ties 
of the self, You feel integrated on a per- 
sonal level, and that goes with the ab- 
sence oi worn'es. Whether "he absence 
of wcries is primary or a fortur.ale by- 
product, it's certainly important. So it's 
almost like an escape. 

But Einstein once said science is 
:he :jre~i:esl escape there is. And sure, 
when you go into abstract realms of the 
mind, it's nice to have another place to 
live besides the real world— a beauti- 
fully ordered, logical space. You could 
say that's an escape, but an escape 
forward! I make a ciis: nc: en between 
an escape that's a reduction of chal- 
lenge and skill, which occurs, for ex- 
ample, when you get drunk or take 
drugs. That's qua^al vely efferent from 
an escape involving upping the chal- 
lenges and skills. 

Omni: There's the element of growth? 
Csikszentmihalyi: Right. I call it com- 
plexity. You're operating with higher 
skills without reducing challenges. Pi- 
casso 'was jeaeus ane insecure in his 
nterpe-sona 'elations and didn't cope 
well in:er personally. He put all his effort 
into his work, which became more 
complex. That's one way. Perhaps a 
better way would have been for him to 
■■complsxiiy" lis rela:i en ships with peo- 
ple, try to understand why he didn't get 
along with them, and resolve those 
problems while still nvesfog energy in 
his art. But Picasso was escaping iiom 
conflict by "complexifying" another 
type of challenge. 

Omni: If he'd been able to eope di- 
rectly, might he have freed even more 
energy for his art? 

Csikszentmihalyi: If Picasso had re- 
solved his problems with his wives, girl- 
friends, and children, maybe he would 
not have been as driven. Maybe he 
would have enjoyed life more. Look at 
the great chess masters who exhaust 
all the challenges of their field. At that 
point many of them go crazy, to use a 
simple characterization. Take the first 
great American chess master, Paul 
Morphy, and 100 years later, Bobby 
Fischer — 100 percent involvement with 
chess, reaching the top quickly, and 
then trying desperately to find flow 
after that, Morphy offered to play any- 
body at great handicaps and give 
them lots of money if they won, but no- 
body wanted to play with him because 
he was too good. He had one psy- 
chotic break after another. 
Omni: So there's also a negative, dark 
side to flow. 

Csikszentmihalyi: Addictive quality, 
yes, which may in the long run restrict 

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you' ability -,:.i hava mce than one type 
o J flow experience. The ideal would be 
to be able to move from one game — 
structured activity — to another. 
Omni: Flow demands rules? 
Csikszentmihalyi: Yes. or you should be 
able to impose your own. Take house- 
work: People who really enjoy ironing, 
say, inevitably find they've developed a 
set of rules so Ihey can have feed- 
back — "I did ii right, better than yester- 
day, or worse than yesterday." Nobody 
else may know those rules, but they 
do. So when they iron, they can tell 
how well they're doing and get sucked 
into the activity to thai extent. The same 
with mowing the lawn or washing 
dishes. If you want to enjoy these activ- 
ities, you create rules. 
Omni: How can you compare an expe- 
rience like ironing where the rules may 
be arbitrary or even silly with chess 
which has complex, external rules, or 
climbing, where obeying the rules is a 
matter of life or death? 
Csikszentmihalyi: I like to think of flow 
as being a continuum, a combination 
of dimensions of experience, begin- 
ning with a challenging activity requir- 
ing sK.i Is with clear goals and feed- 
back. The person becomes utterly ab- 
sorbed in the activity, concentrating so 
intently he or she drops all self-con- 

92 OMNI 

sclcjsness and loses he sense of time. 
I've never gotten around to saying HOW 
many of those elements you must have. 
Omni: Do you have to reach a certain 
age before you're capable of experi- 
encing flow? 

Csikszentmihalyi: I'd guess that small 
children probably feel it most of the 
time. Partly because they don't see 
many possibilities other than the ones 
they're involved In, Of course, children 
get fr ustrated if they try to build a tower 
of blocks and it keeps falling, but gen- 
erally they do what they can handle, or 
transform things into what they can 
handle, and don't see a higher chal- 
lenge than what they're doing. 

By high school they discover they 
could be many different types of peo- 
ple, and each is a potential challenge. 
They could be bigger, stronger, 
smarter, better looking, more this, more 
that — and they are overwhelmed by the 
possibilities. There is a loss of inno- 
cence in the realization that there s so 
much more to it than you thought, and 
you don't know whether you can be like 
that. It's not easy to flow and concen- 
trate when ail those distractions enter 
your awareness. Kids who do it best 
are those who can focus on something 
do-able: That could be athletics, play- 
ing a musical instrument. If -you don't 

nave hose opponu". ties yo.i r esort to 
less complex forms, like watching TV, 
listening to music, taking drugs. 
Omni: What aboul h'ngs like Nintendo, 
hanging around shopping malls? 
Csikszentmihalyi: They're not very 
complex, of course, and go I don't like 
them. Such interests are self-destruc- 
tive because their challenges are 
quickly exhausted. Most kids quickly 
learn they've reached the ceiling of that 
activity. : l gets boring and they go on to 
sc-'-ehing else. Not necessarily better, 
but something else. Only TV seems to 
have a constant appeal. 
Omni: What percentage of people ex- 
perience flow? 

Csikszentmihalyi: We've tried to deter- 
mine that by reading to people quota- 
tions describing flow, including those 
of a mountain climber, chess p ayer, 
and dancer, then asking them: "Did 
you ever feel like that?" If the person 
says yes, we ask "What would you be 
doing? How often?" and so on. Among 
both Americans and other people we 
find that 87 percent say, "Oh sure I've 
felt like that," and 13 percent say, "I 
don't think I ever quite feel like that," 
Within that 87 percent, some say, "I re- 
member feeling like that when I was 
twenty and playing football," and not 
since. Others say they feel it every day. 
And the same percentage happens in 
other countries. 

How much time do people spend in 
flow? If by flow you mean the highest 
level cf unsell'-:;ansei:jusness, concen- 
tration, challenge, and skill — oh, 
maybe one-tenth of one percent of your 
time, or less, But if you mean being 
above average in challenge and skill, 
then about 20 to 25 percent of the time. 
Now, some people never get to that 
point, and some are there half the time. 
Omni: What are some therapeutic ap- 
olica:cns of flow theory? 
Csikszentmihalyi: Psychiatrists in Italy 
and the Netherlands are using the the- 
ory and techniques. With electronic 
pagers and self-reports, they discover 
how much time their patients spend 
doing things, and how they feel doing 
them, then try to understand' why, for 
instance, the patient is so unhappy at 
home or so happy in certain activities, 
in order to build an individually tailored 
intervention therapy. Every two months 
they give a new beeper study. Over 
time, the amount of flow the people are 
finding mounts, as challenges and 
skills increase. 

For some schizophrenics who have 
been hospitalized 15 or 20 years, the 
doctors simplified the protocol. Then 
they discovered that some patients 
had disturbed mentation all morning, 
but were completely normal between 

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2:00 and 7:00 p.m. They found that 
identifying the optimal experiences in 
these people's lives and building on 
them could have a better effect than 
merely trying to ward off the negative 
at-occs of tneir situation. 
Omni: What else are you working on? 
Csikszentmihalyi: I direct two big proj- 
ects. In one, I'm interviewing people in 
their seventies, eighties, and nineties, 
who've achieved something culturally 
important. They include Nobel laure- 
ates, innovative business leaders, 
stares—en. and scientist who continue 
learning and growing into advanced 
old age. We're trying to develop a 
model for optimal aging. The other in- 
volves teenagers again, how they de- 
cide their future careers, what values, 
attitudes, and habits prepare them for 
a productive adulthood. With lots of 
graduate students working on it, I'm 
more like an orchestra conductor than 
principal investigator. I feel like the old 
artist in a Renaissance workshop who 
walks by, looks at sketches, and says, 
"Make the nose bigger," or "You have 
the oackground all wrong." 
Omni: Both projects extend concepts 
about flow into the individual's and so- 
ciety's future. 

Csikszentmihalyi: That's where the work 
has led me: to people's ability to invest 

34 OMNI 

psychic energy in the future. Most of 
us, most of the time, invest our energy 
in programs laid down either in our 
genes or consciousnesses either by bi- 
ological or cultural selection. Essen- 
tially, we tend to spend time doing 
things that don't really open up possi- 
bilities in the future, but are simply ful- 
filling needs or desires that made sense 
in the past. Part of that, of course, we 
have to do to survive. But we must real- 
ize we can also create the future — ac- 
cording to lines that were not laid 
down, programs not formulated in the 
past, but which we discover ^h we ic-arr 
more about our lives. To the extent that 
people do that, it seems they are build- 
ing the future into their own selves. 
Omni: So we have the capacity to di- 
rect our own evolution? 
Csikszentmihalyi: This is the point I try 
to make in The Evolving Self. Individual 
enjoyment seems an evolutionary po- 
tential in humans, responsible in large 
part for technical and social advances, 
in future-oriented goals. It's intrinsic in- 
terest thai keeps people discovering, 
exploring for the sheer pleasure and 
enjoyment of it. After a while other con- 
siderations come into play: "Is this in- 
vention going to make me a lot of 
money? Is it going to be useful?" In 
talking to creative people who become 

famous, it's clear they were motivated 
almost completely by intrinsic motives, 
without much concern for fame. Yet, 
because they were so focused and in- 
terested, they ended up pushing the 
boundaries and ended up achieving 
success and becoming famous — 
sometimes even wealthy. 
Omni: How would you envision a soci- 
ety that floated on flow? 
Csikszentmihalyi: First, enjoy life. It 
makes no sense to go through the mo- 
tions of existence if one doesn't appre- 
ciate as much of it as possible. But 
each also has to find flow in activities 
that stretch the self: continuing curios- 
ity, taking new challenges, developing 
new skills. We can't afford to become 
trapsed within ourselves, our jobs, and 
religions, and lose sight of the entire 
tapestry of life. When the self loses it- 
self in a transcendent purpose— 
whether to write great poetry, craft 
beautiful furniture, understand the mo- 
tions of galaxies, or help children be 
happier— the self becomes largely in- 
vulnerable to the fears and setbacks of 
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then becomes fixed on mea.nirgfu 
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ing to represent problems; they're try- 
ing to provide solutions." 

A fundamental rethinking is under- 
way in the art world, agrees Doug Ash- 
ford of Group Material, the New York 
artists collective that designed the ICA 
show. "Beyond considering alternative 
p/aces to display their work, people are 
contemplating broader questions like 
what is an anist supposed to do? Whom 
do we serve and how?" The next step, 
he says, is to "generate a discourse 
that might actually change things." 

The idea of trying to start a dialogue 
was, in fact, the explicit goal of the piece 
installed by sculptor M. Simon Levin 
and architect Mike Tyrrell at RA's North 
Point show. They parked a pickup truck 
in the middle of the site and adorned it 
with a nonfunctioning antenna and 
satellite dish. Cellular fax machines set 
up between North Point and the ICA 
enabled people to share their thoughts 
about the land with Massachusetts' 
lyghway, transit, and park authorities. 
These fax transmissions, Levin claims, 
were "guerrilla acts. Instead ol taking 
over by force, we frustrate them by tak- 
ing up their paper and toner." Sugges- 
tions forwarded to the state agencies 
include turning the area into a moun- 
tain range, a pine forest, a wetlands, or 
just a nice park. "These faxes alone 
aren't going to change anything," Levin 
concedes. "We're just happy people 
fna'ted communicating." 

The project appealed to him be- 
cause of his interest in creating transi- 
tory works of art that "bridge the gap 
between life and art." Many who saw 
the truck/sculpture couldn't tell, for ex- 
ample, whether it was supposed to be 
an artwork or whether somebody just 
parked a truck in the middle of an art 
show. Levin believes that anytime you 
get people asking questions like that, 
you're doing okay. "In galleries, people 
might think they know how to look at a 
painting: 'You stand a certain distance 
from it, look tor a minute or two, and 
move on to the next.' When people get 
confused about the context, and are 
unsure of where they stand, they have 
to rediscover how to look at things, For 
me, that's what real art is all about. 

"All of a sudden, you start to realize 
that beauty is not just in the designated 
art pieces, but in the nondesignated 
pieces as well. People start noticing 
mounds of dirt and say, 'Wow, that's actu 
ally a nice shape!' It can open their eyes. 
And the show can still be a success 
even if the people like the mound of dirt 
better 1hnr> tne so-called 'sculpture.'"Da 


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Strange Wonders 

South Georgia island, a lonely outcrop 
where the climate is slightly more tem- 
perate. The island is still below the Con- 
vergence and is cold and frozen most 
of the year, but along with the classic 
dark peaks and white glaciers of the 
Antarctic, there are now brown muddy 
bogs, patches of green tussock grass 
and more penguins, seals, and flying 
seabrcs than one can possibly imagine. 

Here, we land on beach after 
beach, and the viewing is so rich, the 
sounds and smells sc ove^vnelmirg. 
that our senses are almost saturated. 
There are huge elephant seals, giant 
sluglike creatures that are named for 
the protruding snouts or trunks that are 
found on mature males. At this time of 
the year, they lie together in big mud 
wallows shedding their skin and fur, 
and grunt, wheeze, snort, and belch. 

"I'm a professional seal bb'ogis"." 
says Peter Carey from the 
University of Canterbury in 
Christchurch, New Zealand, 
and one of the guides on our 
tour. "And even I think ele- 
phant seals smell bad." Occa- 
sionally, two young bulls rear 
up and go chest-to-chest in a 
shoving match, opening their 
huge pink mouths and show- 
ing their teeth. "This is how 
they develop the social skills 
they'll need when they grow 
up and actually try to hold a 
territory," Carey explains. "But 
right now, it's not all-out combat. It's 
practice, just play. They close their 
mouths on each otner's necks, but they 
aren't actually biting." 

At a spot called Salisbury Plain, 
more than 100,000 king penguins 
gather — fantastic-looking birds with sil- 
ver-gray backs and splashes of yellow 
and orange at their throats and ears. It 
is a vast sea of these trumpeting, 
whistling, three-foot birds across a 
broad, muddy stretch. And for the most 
part, they do not seem at all perturbed 
by our presence: The kings go right on 
feeding, fighting, molting, and incubat- 
ing right in front of us. Their chicks take 
more than a year to fledge and. at this 
point in the season, look like brown, 
woolly bears almost the size of adults. 
Parents return with their crops full of 
fish to regurgitate into the mouths of 
these huge, hungry children — a daunt- 
ing, neverending task. 

Right off of South Georgia is tiny 
Prion Island, a little mile-wide gem 
packed with velvety coated fur seals 
and their black woolly pups, giant pet- 

96 OMNI 

rels with their large tube noses and 
huge webbed feet, orange-billed ger- 
too penguins, and brown skua birds 
looking for prey. Underneath the tus- 
sock crass, there are thousands of bur- 
rowing seabirds. And up on top of the 
island, as a kind of crowning glory, is 
nest after nest of magnificent wander- 
ing albatrosses, Paying us no mind at 
all, these enormous, gentle-looking 
creatures engage in complete court- 
ship behavior, locking and rahlirg the.r 
foot-long beaks, throwing their heads 
back into the air, and extending their 
wings to their full glorious spans, "It 
was just so beautiful to witness," says 
ohoicgra.oner Perry Conway. "And they 
did it with eight people around them, 
acting as if we were just another blade 
of grass," 

At Prion, no rats or mammals have 
ever been introduced by man. Its ecol- 
ogy is completely undisturbed and 
thus provides a kind of snapshot of the 
world before our species arrived: a 
oeaLt ful. but at the same time o' ; s; _rb- 




ing, look at what has been lost, "When 
you get to a place like Prion," says 
Peter Carey, "you get a window on the 
past, to a time when things were natu- 
rally intact and hadn't been meddled 
with by us." 

And once arrived in the Antarctic, man 
most certainly has. In the 1800s, sealers 
came again and again, slaughtering 
hundreds of thousands of fur seals for 
their skins and elephant seals for their 
oil-rich blubber. Probably fewer than 
100 of these animals were left on South 
Georgia by the early 1900s. But their 
killing was eventually strictly controlled, 
and the species has gone on to make 
a remarkable comeback: Their numbers 
are now close to two million strong. 

Whales, however, were not as lucky. 
What you see in the Southern Ocean 
today—as striking as these mammals 
sometimes appear— is thought to be 
only about 10 percent' of what once 
was there. At Grytviken, just one of 
seven old whaling bases that used to 
operate on South Georgia, factory 
workers once processed 25 fin whales 

a day, each 60 feet in length. 

"They called this the 'Gates to Hell'," 
yells Bob Headland, standing on the 
old flensing platform at Grytviken, He is 
our tour historian and a researcns" at 
the Scott Polar Research Institute in 
Cambridge, England. "Whales were 
brought through the bay and dragged 
up here by a winch attached to the tail 
flukes. They were then dissected. The 
blubber was peeled off and went in 
one direction, and the rest of the body 
rolled to the other side. All the men 
working here had big spikes on their 
boots. It was extremely slippery with 
blood and guts . . . Come on, let's fol- 
low the blubber." Louis Pici. a passer 
gerfrom New Jersey, later confided: "To 
me, Grytviken was like an Auschwitz 
for whales." In 1982, an international 
moratorium was finally declared on this 
industry, However, countries like Norway, 
Japan, and Iceland continue to argue 
fc the r.ght to reopen whale fisheries. 

Not surprisingly, whales are not the 
only resource in danger of exploitation 

here. Krill are now caught in 

~~ ~~ large quantities and used 
for animal feed (luckily, 
they are an unappetizing 
human food). An interna- 
tional convention currently 
regulates the size of this 
harvest. But the whole 
Antarctic ecology is so de- 
pendent on this one 
species, that anything 
which threatens it may 
cause serious reductions in 
populations of many of the 
other species. While there 
is now a moratorium on mining and oil 
extraction, many observes oeevc ;hai 
it would be lifted quickly if substantial 
deposits were discovered. 

My last night on the Khlebnikov I 
cannot sleep again. Everything has gone 
by in such a fleeting way, and I want 
cesoerately to hang on to it all, to 
somehow keep Antarctica under my 
skin. If only there was a way to take a 
chunk of the ice home or bottle the wind, 
It is close to 1:00 a.m. now, and I 
wander up to the bridge where Sergey, 
a lone Russian officer, is left on duty, 
For the first time in weeks, I notice it is 
completely pitch black— we are well 
north of the midnight sun by this time— 
and the sky is clear and full of stars. 
Sergey points to a constellation 
marked by four brilliant stars— the fa- 
mous Southern Cross — and explains 
that if you follow one of the arms on 
down to the horizon, it points almost di- 
rectly to the South 'Pole. This is the first 
time I have ever seen the Cross, and I 
take it as sign, as a marker, showing 
me the way back. DO 



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in common. Casinos don't hang clocks 
(or have windows) so that players will 
lose track of the time; public phones 
are :. : egal af race tracks; and rats don't 
vomit, (In fact, that's how. rat poison 
works — once they swallow it, they can't 
regurc; tate it.) The others on the list are 
pretty se'f-exp anatory — or did you for- 
get the peahen eggs? 

5. The men in the second list, in re- 
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the men on the first list, The correct 
pairings are Jackson/Presley, Rivera/ 
Vonnegut, Jr., Chaplin/O'Neill, Horo- 
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1 1 . One was born the day the other 
died; Hawn and Benchley on Novem- 
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June 2, 1941. 

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Questions 13, 14, and 15 will be an- 
swered in a future issue. Meanwhile, 
send meyourtheoriesl 

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shook his head, but he wasn't sure. 
Maybe, maybe they had. He felt sorry 
for Biiiy Joe's young wife. They left her 
at the house with Ruth Ann and the last 
of the mourners. There was no time to 
lose. In January it gets dark early. The 
cornfield was now a shopping center, 
had been for forty years, but the woods 
and the broomsage were still there be- 
hind it like a blank spot on a map. The 
road that led back from the highway 
was still gravel. They parked the elec- 
tric (no one had ever been able to call 
them "cars") by an overflowing dump- 
ster at the bottom of a steep clay bank. 

"Tel! me the name of the cliff again," 
said Billy Joe. 

"Annapurna," said Pig Gnat. "You 

"I feel like shit but I'm not drunk any- 
more, if that's what you mean." 

The narrow trail switchbacked up 
the bank to the forest. One slip and 
they were "dead." It was spitting snow. 
At the top the trail led into the trees, the 
dark, dark trees. 

Billy Joe carried the Daisy. Of 
course it was useless without a maga- 
zine. They came out of the woods, 
through the brush, into the field. "This 1 
is the deepest and most mysterious 
part of the trail," Pig Gnat said from 
memory. "As we begin our journey up 
the ancient Tibetan Nile." They crossed 
the gorge (the Ford was gone) and fol- 
lowed the great river to its source in a 
culvert, now almost hidden under a 
broken slab at the rear of the shopping 
center. "All kneel," said Pig Gnat. 

They knelt. Pig Gnat raked away the 
leaves with a stick. "Don't we say some- 
thing, or something?" Billy Joe asked. 

"That's after. Give me a hand with 
this rock." 

Billy Joe set down the Daisy and 
they heaved together, and slid the big 
stone to one side. 

Underneath, in the dark brown 
earth, a two-inch ruby square glowed. 
"Hadn't it oughta say press me or cau- 
tion or something?" Billy Joe joked 

"Sssshhhhh," said Pig Gnat. "Just 
press it." 

"Why me? Why don't you press it?" 

"I don't know why. That's just the 
way it works. Just press it." 

Billy Joe pressed it and instead of 
pushing in like a button it sort of 
pushed back. 


"Now, all repeat after me," Pig Gnat 
said. "Oh Secret and Awesome Lost 
Wilderness Shrine." 

"Oh Secret and Awesome Lost 
Wilderness Shrine." 

"The Key to Oz and Always be 

"The Key to Oz and Always be 

"Bee-Men, and so forth. Now help 
me with this rock." 


"First the rock and then leaves." 

"We'll never find it again." 

"When we need to, we will. Come 
on. I think it's late." 

It was late, but stiil warm for October. 
While Nation and Pig Gnat pulled the 
rock into place, Billy Joe scrambled to 
the top of the culvert. The funny feeling 
in his legs was gone. Across the corn 
stubble, in the subdivision on the other 
side of the highway a few early lights 
gleamed. Among Ihem, Mrs. Pignatelli's. 

"It is late," said Billy Joe. "I think 
your mother's home. Maybe we should 
cut across the field . . ." 

"You know better than that," Pig 
Gnat said. "He who comes by the trail 
must leave by the trail." 

The trail followed the great stream 
away from the highway and the houses 
on the other side, down the culvert and 
across the gorge on a high, perilous 
bridge of two-by-fours. 

Billy Joe led the way. Pig Gnat was 
in the middle. Nation, who owned and 
therefore carried the gun, brought up 
the rear, alert for game. 

"Hold," he said. 

Three boys froze in the dying light. 
A giant grasshopper stood poised on 
top of a fence post. Nation took aim. 
Billy Joe squinted, imagining a rogue 
tiger. Pig Gnat kept his eyes wide 
open, staring off into the' endless coils 
of night.Dd 


Page 4, bolTom: W 

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:lrsy page 33: r.r.i A|-.-L:igi:a- An: |jagis 

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What traits do the things in our quiz share? 

By Scot Morris 

Here are some puzzles to 
exercise your axons and 
dendrites, all about things in 

ft "I've Been Working on 
the Railroad" and "The 
Eyes of Texas" share a musi- 
cal connection with "My 
Sweet Lord" and "He's So 
Fine." What is it? 

2. Liberty, macaroni, 
checkers, and socks 

3. What do these six peo- 
ple — Princess Diana, 
Linda Lovelace, Sally Jessy 
Raphael, Roger Ebert, 
Lenny Bruce, and Merman 
Mailer' — have in common 
with these six people — Carl 
Lewis, George Foreman, 
George Harrison, Paul Mc- 
Cartney, Margaret Thatch- 
er, and Carol Channing? 

4. My editor says 
these things have nothing in 
common: clocks in a 
casino, public phones at a 
race track, photographs 
of Abraham Lincoln smiling, 
witches-burned in Salem, 
peacock eggs, and rat vomit. 
What do you say? 

5. What do these six peo- 
ple — Michael Jackson, 
Geraldo Rivera, Charlie Chap- 
lin, Vladimir Horowitz, 
Anthony Quinn, and Richard 
Wagner — have in com- 
mon with these six people — 
Franz Liszt, Cecil B. 
DeMille, Arturo Toscanini, 
Eugene O'Neill, Kurt 
Vonnegut, Jr., and Elvis 

6. Jayne Mansfield, Mar- 
garet Mitchell, Tom Mix, 
Jackson Pollock, Bessie 
Smith, and Albert Camus. 

7. Lee Harvey Os- 
wald, Elizabeth Taylor, 
T. S. Eliot, Henry James, 
and John Huston. 

8. The heritage of 

104 OMNI 

Cher, Jimi Hendrix, Burt 
Reynolds, and James Garner. 

9. George Patton, Dr. 
Benjamin Spock, and Prin- 
cess Anne. 

10. George Patton, Adlai 
Stevenson, Burt Bacha- 
rach, Yul Brynner, Kirk Doug- 
las, Gary Cooper, and 
Frank Sinatra. What woman 
bedded them all? 

1 1 . Goldie Hawn and Rob- 
ert Benchley share a cos- 
mic connection. So do Stacy 
Keach and Lou Gehrig. 
What is it? 

QUESTIONS above before 
trying this puzzle, derived 
from Sam Loyd's classic 
Only Color Problem. 

What do these words have 
in common: tune, pet, 
born, nothing, dad, crash, 
renounced, redskin, 
Olympic athletes, Marlene 
Dietrich, reincarnation, 
and answer this quiz? 

There's just one tour-letter 
word that summarizes 
what the following have in 
common. What's the only 
word?: President James Bu- 
chanan, the two-toed sloth, 
the chow chow dog, the hyoid 
bone, mercury, -40 de- 
grees, the pyramids, Midnight 
Cowboy: iho -legs of Nepal, 

Libya, and Ohio, and a 
logophile's attraction 
to Pierre, South Dakota? 

A. What do these ten com- 
panies/products have in 
common: Coca-Cola, Bud- 
weiser, Dentyne, Marlboro, 
Baby Ruth, Campbell's soup, 
Time, Avis, STP, Old Spice? 

B. And these ten: Coor's, 
Kodak, Hertz, Cutty Sark, 
Squirt, National Geographic, 
Shell, Bayer, McDonald's, 

Preparation H? 

C. And these: Kraft par- 
mesan cheese, 7-Up, Hein- 
eken, Doublemint, Salem 
cigarettes, Tanqueray, 
MJB, Fuji, Quaker State, 
American Express? 

D. And these: IBM, Minolta, 
Ivory, Alka-Seltzer, Enten- 
mann's, Maxwell House, Low- 
enbrau, USA Today, WD- 
40, Phillips' Milk of Magnesia? 

OF ALL: What do these have 
in common: sole, shark, 
sloth, vampire, parasite, 
booby. (This is a very 
tough puzzle. You'll have to 
know all about these ani- 
mals to derive the answer.) 


1. "Railroad" and "Texas" 
have the same melodies. 

So do George Harrison's "My 
Sweei Lord" and the Chif- 
fons' "He's So Fine." 

2. These are all presiden- 
tial pets. Liberty was Ger- 
ald Ford's golden retriever, 
Macaroni was Caroline 
Kennedy's pony, Checkers 
was Richard Nixon's fa- 
mous spaniel, and Socks is 
the current First Cat. 

3. You may have noticed 
the lists are arranged 
youngest to oldest. Each 
pair of persons was born ■ 
on the same day. Joined at 
birth were Princess Di- 
ana and Carl Lewis, both 
born on July 1, 1961, 
Foreman and Lovelace (Jan- 
uary 10, 1949), Harrison 
and Raphael (February 25, 
1943), McCartney and 
Ebert (June 18, 1942), Thatch- 
er and Bruce (October 3, 
1925), and Channing and 
Mailer (January 31, 1923). 

4. My ediior is always 
right. They have nothing